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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Expensive birthday gift, do you go with the flow or just say "no"?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26829points) May 20th, 2010

Do you go with the flow or just say “no”? If a member of your attached family like a niece has a birthday coming and she is hinting to different members of what she wants; to one she is hinting for a designer “little black dress”, to another a pair of designer sling back pumps, and to you a designer clutch purse. You try to reason with the others that a 15 year old does not need to have an expensive designer outfit; what for? To spend $212 on a dress, $130 on pimps, and $180 clutch is excessive, tight? You can get much more practical things for that money. But the others say you only have a 15th birthday once and gifts are supposed to be about fun and enjoyment and not practicality as if a nice laptop can’t be fun. They are on board to make her wish come true and they are counting on you to go alone as to “complete” the outfit. Do you go alone in spite the fact you think it is silly or use the money and get her something like a nice digital camera, a bike, camcorder, or something she could use for years to come if she took care of it?

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34 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

I would give her a gift card for the amount I could afford, and it certainly would not be that much money.

mrentropy's avatar

A pair of pimps?

For me, a birthday (or holiday or whatever) is a time for people to get me what I want rather than need. I always deny myself things that I want if I’m buying them.

So, given that, if the kid really wants… whatever then I would try and do that. It would be up to them to be disappointed or not after a week.

But I’d probably do what @YARNLADY said and get a gift card. Then I don’t have to worry about it.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

undefined Unpimped and repumped.

perspicacious's avatar

I would buy her what I wanted to buy her. If I felt her request was excessive, I would ignore it, or possibly do what yarnlady said.

Buttonstc's avatar


I guess it depends upon whether or not Gladys Knight is included along with them.
Then it might be three instead of just two.


MyNewtBoobs's avatar

It’s not your job to make her birthday everything she wants – otherwise, every birthday I had, I’d be asking my friends (almost all students) for things like a new car and a down payment on a home. Get her what you feel comfortable getting her. Gift certificates are always great, just put 25 or 50 (or whatever you feel like) on there. Besides, aside from her parents, it’s really inappropriate for her to be asking this much for any present – if you give in, she’ll never learn boundaries.

jazmina88's avatar

sometimes you just want to look like a million bucks. I live next to some girls who have a 400 buck purse. That is insanity to me, aBUT

Give that gift card, any amount will do.

partyparty's avatar

Just buy her what you think is appropriate. Don’t concern yourself on what others are buying.

Scooby's avatar

My only answer to the question is I’m the Scrooge of the family so birthdays & what not are real easy for me! ;-)
They’re honoured if they get a card, no sense spoiling kids I say unless they really deserve it, I like to instil a sense of values, as an uncle I feel it’s my duty to take over where my siblings fail, even if it upsets, money doesn’t grow on trees! :-/

mrentropy's avatar

@Buttonstc Er, I think that’s “Gladys Knight and the Pips”
@papayalily I ask people for new houses and cars all the time. I don’t actually expect them, but I ask just in case.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

You only have each birthday once, so turning 15 is not really that big of a deal. I would give her a gift card or cash, and let her determine if she wants to spend the money on expensive clothes. Adolescents are often fine with spending an adult’s money on expensive things, but when it comes to spending their own cash, they’re much more frugal.

A 15 year old is too young to be wearing “a little black dress”. You should be at least 21 in order to do it justice.

BoBo1946's avatar

Not the price of the gift, but the spirit of the giver that counts! I’ve received gifts that were inexpensive that i really treasure because you know the person put their heart into the gift, not their pocketbook! The person receiving the gift usually knows what others can afford.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I’m not crazy about extorsion,coersion,guilt and pain in the neck people telling me what to do with my time and money so I’d get her what I want to get her—a water buffalo—:)

Cruiser's avatar

I am a simple gift giver….gift card and a case of silly string. Never not received a thank you card yet!

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Do not let family members dictate what your gift should be.

MissAusten's avatar

I don’t spend that much on a birthday gift for my own kid, let alone someone else’s. No, I would not go along with a request like that. A relative other than my own child would be lucky to get a card and a small gift. We typically keep birthday/Christmas gifts to just immediate family. It goes without saying that if one of my children wanted people to give such outrageous gifts, they’d be very disappointed.

zephyr826's avatar

This is ridiculous! I’m sorry, but I teach in a high school, and I’ve seen how 15-year-olds treat their designer purses and clothes. She’ll tire of it, ruin it, or grow out of it before she turns 16.
I hardly ever ask people what they want for birthdays or Christmas, because in my opinion, something unexpected that is chosen for you is so much more special than something you picked out yourself and demanded as if it were a demand in a ransom note for your affection.

meagan's avatar

Hell no I wouldn’t do it. In fact, I’d sponsor one of those needy children in her name and let her know. Thats money better spent. Maybe she’ll learn not too be so greedy, and learn how well she has it.

casheroo's avatar

I don’t even spend that amount of money on myself for shoes or a purse…. She’d get a gift card of what we could afford.

Trillian's avatar

You can say that for every birthday you have though, right? You’re only 27 once. You’re only 52 once. Who cares? She sounds like a spoiled brat who is always overindulged. You’re right to think that she does not need all that crap.
If they want to be “on board” for a never ending train wreck like this, let them have at it. You are correct in not boarding this one.
They have no right to make you feel obligated so that they can “count on you” to make her spoiled brat dream come true. She’ll come up with another, more expensive one as soon as they make this one happen. Count on it.
Stay strong and stick to your principles shipmate.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@zephyr826 “I’m sorry, but I teach in a high school, and I’ve seen how 15-year-olds treat their designer purses and clothes.” Therein lies the rub, if all the other zip zappers in school are sporting Sean John, Louie V, Dolce&Gabbana, etc you have to have it to be “cool” damn the cost at least that is what they believe.

meagan's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Where do you people live? If I asked for hundreds of dollars worth of crap for my birthday I would have been bitch-slapped. LOL

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@meagan Getting someone a donation for a needy child or an endangered animal is a slap in the face. I know that this girl comes off as greedy and spoiled, but that’s no reason to deliberately treat her badly or use her birthday to try to impose your morals on her – that’s what the rest of the year is for. At least have the decency to just get her nothing. If her being a jerk makes you act like a jerk, you aren’t any better than her.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central 1) Isn’t there a chance those kids are lying? I know when I was in 5th grade, I was under the impression that I was the only kid in my grade who’s parents wouldn’t let her watch R rated movies. Now, looking back, I think quite a lot of those kids were liar liar pants on fires. 2)There is life being not being popular and cool in school. I know to a teen it seems like the end of the world, but it isn’t. Furthermore, it isn’t your job to make her be the cool kid at school. She’ll just have to have a bit of the hardship that comes from not crapping hundred dollar bills like the rest of the planet.

MissAusten's avatar

We live in an area where a large proportion of the families are quite well off. When I’m with my daughter and her fifth grade friends, I routinely see kids whose boots, jeans, iPods, and cell phones cost more than anything I own. When my daughter, in fourth grade, asked for Ugg boots for her birthday, she did not get them. I explained to her that the boots were expensive. She would only be wearing them for a short time before it was too warm for boots, and by the next winter they wouldn’t fit. I said, “Keeping that in mind and knowing that they would be the only present you would get from us, do you still want them?” She said no. Thank goodness! So while I appreciate the fact that, to a child, being one of the “not haves” isn’t always fun or easy, I hope we are handling it in a way that will help our kids grow into good people.

meagan's avatar

@papayalily Helping someone that can’t help themselves is doing something wrong? That isn’t treating her badly. I’m not torturing her. She’d be learning a lesson. Is that such a terrible thing?

vbabe96's avatar

I’d say no and hand her a gift card for what you can afford.

Buttonstc's avatar


I don’t quite understand why you are saying it’s a slap in the face to donate to a charity in her name and that giving NOTHING is preferable ?

Seems to me it’s the other way around.

Plus I think that something like a donation in her name to Project Heifer would be just unique enough to piqué interest.

This is the group which provides a cow or goat to families in poor countries with the stipulation that when they have offspring they would donate one of them to a neighbor.

That person would do the same and so on till the entire village is better off.

It’s a wonderful object lesson in how giving a little can end up multiplying into a lot.

It’s not a heavy handed lesson but rather a lot of fun. It’s just offbeat enough to be really interesting for most teenagers.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

You could give her an e-Bay gift certificate and teach her that no one with any sense ever pays retail for clothes.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@meagan @Buttonstc Presents are about the getter, not the giver. Birthdays and Christmas are not the time for someone to give you a gift that says “here’s an Armani suit, because I can’t stand how blue collar you are, you stinking hick” or “look at how fun anatomy can be with this pull-apart human! there’s his thigh muscle!”. By getting someone a donation in their name, you are saying that their present is really all about you. If you want them to care as much as you do about the Hawaiian Monk seal, save it for the other 363 days of the year. There are tons of ways to teach them about giving and caring about others without being narcissistic. At least when you get someone nothing, you aren’t taking something away from that person.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying that teaching kids this is a bad thing, I’m saying its a bad thing on their birthday.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@PandoraBoxx Yeah, those suckers are all being taken for a ride, what with the trying the clothes on, seeing how they fit, getting to examine them in person, knowing the exact shade of a shirt… Plus, sense is defiantly that concrete and absolute, with no gray area or “different strokes for different folks”


meagan's avatar

@papayalily Wrong. I doubt that this girl is going to miss out because her uncle would decide to do something different.
This isn’t even an arguing point. “Wah, my family donated money to a starving family in Africa rather than buying me really expensive shoes for my birthday”.
No, don’t even go there. Shes lucky her uncle is even getting her anything. My aunts and uncles never got me crap for my birthday. It was always just my mother and father.
Children are so spoiled! By the way, I’ve done this for Christmas for my four year old cousin. He didn’t cry a river. I think someone would survive through this torment.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@meagan That’s why I say that it’s better to get her nothing. I’m not saying she needs to be spoiled, I’m saying it’s wrong to make someone else’s birthday all about you. I don’t think the only options are expensive shoes or kids in Africa. Nor did I say that she would cry a river (although is there a chance in hell that your 4 year old cousin didn’t cry a river in front of you and was perfectly gracious but was feeling something different inside?). I’m saying that it’s narcissistic to make someone else’s life all about you. I’m not talking about getting this girl whatever she wants, I’m talking about having the right attitude towards gifts – the one where you give them because you truly want the other person to have that item and enjoy it, not because you feel obliged or because you’re trying to stock up brownie points or because you see it as an opportunity to impress your values upon someone else. If it’s so important to donate to this cause, I don’t see why you can’t just donate in your own name.

tigress3681's avatar

I feel ya on the whole kids wanting expensive things. My sister (12yo) wants similar stuff all the time. All you can do really is stick to your budget. I offer her the option to help figure out a suitable alternative. If that isn’t good enough, she gets nothing.

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