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02 September 2010

Ask MeCha I have a friend and her new husband who are coming to town for another wedding, and I offered to let them stay with me for four nights. They should be here in a few minutes. I just received a $100 Amazon gift card from them in the mail.[More:]

I find this incredibly embarrassing. No gift is expected whatsoever, but if one is given, this is way too much. Yeah, I know I'm saving them some cash but that's really not the point. What should I do? Keep it anyway and thank them? Insist that they take it back? I'm not always really big on gifts, and I wouldn't dream of giving anyone a gift this large (especially with a dollar denomination) in these circumstances. Hell, I didn't even send them a wedding present (wasn't invited to the wedding either, I hope they don't feel bad about that).
My initial reaction was, "buy them stuff on Amazon", but I'm not sure that's the right thing to do. So don't listen to me.
posted by youngergirl44 03 September | 00:14
How awkward, especially weird that it arrived before they did!

I think your only choice though is to thank them in a gracious and low-key way, maybe say once that they don't need to give you a gift for staying with you, and then let it go. Everybody's different, right?
posted by serazin 03 September | 00:30
Some research in my copy of Miss Manners indicates that one should never display awareness of how much a present is worth. Which is a little difficult when the price is right there. But OK.
posted by grouse 03 September | 00:49
I've given host(ess) gifts when I've stayed with family and friends; I would just say "Thank you". When I'm told I shouldn't have done this (when I wanted to do something special for someone I care about) I feel a bit hurt.
posted by brujita 03 September | 01:38
My initial reaction was, "buy them stuff on Amazon", but I'm not sure that's the right thing to do. So don't listen to me.
Well, don't listen to me either, then. What about if you bought them something worth about half the value and had it delivered to them? I'm completely incompetent when it comes to gift etiquette etc, but it seems like a nice way to act.
posted by dg 03 September | 02:07
Thank them. If they've unwittingly embarrassed you, there's no need for you to offload the embarrassment onto them. If their measure of appreciation is more extravagant than you expect, console yourself that they think you're a very good friend and that your hospitality is worth the gesture.

If you must, get them back on the flip side, but don't do it with their gift card. That's just another way of telling them they embarrassed you.
posted by Hugh Janus 03 September | 07:44
I agree with serazin and Hugh Janus. It is sort of a weird and awkward thing to do but just graciously thank them and tell them it's your pleasure to have them visit you. I don't think you should buy them something with it.

I've stayed with people and what I do is show up with a nice bottle of wine and then send a thank you note and maybe a gift basket of fruit or candy or something like that. Maybe they just found this to be the easiest way to show their thanks. Maybe they regifted a card they got, which would account for the big dollar amount. In any case, I say use it for yourself and enjoy it.

posted by Kangaroo 03 September | 07:55
I definitely agree with Hugh. You probably are saving them like 500 bucks, so 100 for a giftcard seems reasonable to them. Just enjoy it! Or send it to me, and I'll enjoy it for you. ;)
posted by leesh 03 September | 07:56
. You probably are saving them like 500 bucks, so 100 for a giftcard seems reasonable to them.

That's what I came in to say! Think what they'd be spending on a hotel! Really, you're getting ripped off. You should talk to them about that sternly.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 03 September | 08:51
I don't think $100 is too much for hosting people for four nights at all. But if it makes you feel better you can do extra nice things for them while they're there. Cook them an extravagant brunch or dinner or something, if they will have any non-wedding-related free time. Buy fancy soaps and things for the shower for them to use. Get some expensive coffee and teas to have around for them. Stock up on their favorite liquor/wine/beer.
posted by misskaz 03 September | 10:04
Just say thanks. I agree that from their point of view, this is a very small gift given how much money you are saving them. (And I'd add that I'd probably bring or send a gift like this myself to someone hosting me for 4 whole days)
posted by bearwife 03 September | 11:28
Chiming in to say it doesn't seem that extravagant, given the amount of time they're staying with you. Even if I'm just staying with someone for one or two nights, I always try to buy my hosts a nice dinner, which generally is at least $100. I agree that the gift certificate makes it a little awkward, but I think you're letting your discomfort get in the way of a nice (and reasonable) gesture.
posted by occhiblu 03 September | 12:06
I can understand why that might feel extravagant to you, the recipient --- it would feel embarrassingly extravagant to me, too. (For me, part of that is the visibility of the dollar amount, which is kinda silly but true.)

But I imagine that to the givers, it feels like a suitable gift, not too extravagant. Not only are you saving them a chunk of money, but you're offering them hospitality and kindness. You can be even kinder by accepting their gift graciously.

If I were in their shoes, I'd plan to take my host out for a lavish dinner or other indulgent treat. With a wedding to attend, they might not have time to do that (whatever their equivalent of that treat would be)... so they've found another way to offer their thanks in a tangible form. It's a gesture, and I'm glad that your friends appreciate your hospitality.
posted by Elsa 03 September | 12:49
I think it's a lovely gift and works out at $12.50 per person per night for the four-night stay, so not, I think, overly extravagant.
posted by Senyar 03 September | 13:21
"It was incredibly thoughtful and far too generous of you. Thank you." And then accept it as graciously as they gave it.
posted by tortillathehun 03 September | 16:48
Sounds just fine to me - you're saving them a lot of money. What nice guests! A++++ WOULD HOST ANYTIME
posted by flex 03 September | 23:34
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