Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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I think this would be a great thing to not do.

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Best Gift List

Having a hard time getting your loved ones to give you ideas for gifts they would like? Hire the Best Gift List consultants.
 
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These highly trained professionals will locate your “victim” in the middle of the day and convince them that they have won a modest shopping spree (you can choose the amount), with the condition that the money must be spent on themselves. If they should wish to accept, they must drop what they are doing and go to the store/mall with your official “shopping assistant” right away. The agent then proceeds to go shopping with them, making a meticulously detailed list of the things that they put in their shopping cart. When it comes time to pay at the checkout, the agent and the cashier go through a well-rehearsed bit where it appears as if there is a problem with the system accepting your gift certificate. After a moderate yet fake argument with the store manager, the agent will apologize to the victim for the inconvenience and insist that he/she will get the problem straightened out and have the purchases shipped to your victim at a later date.

The victim is then driven back home and the list is delivered to you. If you hire the consultants early enough, your victim will have time to forget about the whole incident and be completely surprised when you give them the very gifts they would have bought themselves. Plus, if your victim should happen to turn down the offer of a free shopping spree, then you can feel guilt free about giving them that “Vincent Van Go” painting you picked up for $3 at a garage sale!

luecke, Dec 17 2003

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       one croissant, [luecke], get yourself something nice.
neilp, Dec 17 2003
  

       [+] Don't spend it all in one place.   

       Hiring thugs to find out what your love wants for Christmas: $100   

       Prozac for her after she gets jipped one shopping spree: $485   

       Seeing her face when she unwraps her $15 "Vincent Van Go" painting: priceless?
Letsbuildafort, Dec 17 2003
  

       You're meant to find out what people want for birthdays/Yule through observation or subtle questioning. That's the whole point... That you care enough to take time and effort to work out and find something they'd love.   

       This is just a book token in disguise. They choose, you pay. No likey.
squeak, Dec 18 2003
  

       squeak: But surely the deviousness and complexity in this idea illustrates that you care far more effectively than simply asking them a few leading questions about their interests?
kropotkin, Dec 18 2003
  

       [kropotkin] Not really. You're paying someone else to do the spade work so you can just read a list and breeze round marks and spencers in 10 minutes without having to be arsed to stir a single brain cell. You're not being devious, you're being lazy.
squeak, Dec 18 2003
  

       Exactly, [squeak]. This business, like so many others (perhaps ALL others?), will profit from the laziness of mankind. You being the creative and thoughtful person that you present yourself as, would have no need for the service, but I’m sure there are plenty of people who would.   

       If necessity is the mother of invention, then laziness is surely the father. You get those two tramps together with a bottle of wine and you’re bound to have a new creation within nine months or so…
luecke, Dec 18 2003
  

       Well, suit yourself, [luecke]. I don't think I'm particularly creative, although I'd love to be, but I try my best to be a bit thoughtful.   

       I love finding presents for people, too. I really enjoy it. So maybe I'm a bit biased from the outset. But people with a severe lack of imagination might find it useful.   

       (p.s. I think the shopping spree/gift certificate/argument bit needs tidying up. It's too complicated and would rely on the "victim" being near a shop that sells stuff they *really* want (so you'd have to know in advance the kind of things they like....hmmmm). If I was given 10 minutes in Boots (u.k. chemists/perfume/toiletries)to fill a free basket, I could certainly find some nice stuff but I'd much prefer a good book. It would also rely on the shops where the victim wants to get their presents agreeing to play along.)
squeak, Dec 18 2003
  

       This could be a bit scary if the "victim" decides to buy some personal items which they might not want others to know about!
dobtabulous, Dec 18 2003
  
      
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