Thursday, February 7, 2008

One more thing...

The dust has cleared here at wedding central. From the time the gifts started rolling in, up to the wedding and for a couple weeks afterward -- basically since November -- the apartment has been a mess. Lots of boxes to break down, bubble wrap to burst and tissue paper to recycle, and more little packets of silica gel than we know what to do with (I'm joking, of course, because we don't know what one would do with any quantity of silica gel, besides not eat it). But the mountain of gifts has finally been dealt with: we returned what needed returning and found a place to put all the fabulous new stuff we received (and kept). All that's left to do now is write the thank-yous, and bring our trusty old dishes and things to the Salvation Army! And, of course, add some final notes to my registry reviews.

I can now testify firsthand that Bed, Bath & Beyond's returns policy is as generous and low-hassle as advertised. They gave us cash back for anything that was purchased from our registry, no questions asked, and store credit if we returned something off-registry. However, I do feel compelled to add that if their computer system weren't so screwy and their shipping process were better, we would not have had to return as many items. I already told you about the coffeemaker that was added to our registry when someone bought it for us (alongside the similar-but-different coffeemaker we'd registered for originally). We ended up getting identical pots from two different people, both of whom purchased them from our BB&B registry -- way to update your records, BB&B. And the very day we planned to bring these items to our local store, we received a package full of dishes, all of them chipped or broken because they'd been squeezed into a too-small gift box and badly packaged for shipping. So now I have to use some of our store credit to buy them back -- and hope they're in stock, I guess, because having them shipped again would probably be a mistake. The final insult? I checked our registry list when we got home and discovered that everything we'd just returned was now showing up on the list as available for purchase. I thought the list would remain the way it was, showing that we'd registered for this item and that it had been purchased. But since our event was over, I wouldn't have minded if they'd removed the item from the list completely. Instead, they just removed the indication that it was purchased -- so if someone had wanted to buy us a late gift, and they did so before I realized this and manually removed the items in question, they would have been able to buy any of the things we'd just returned. Of course! Exactly what we would want! That makes perfect sense!

While we're complaining, I would also like to say that the packages we received from Macy's were environmental nightmares. Macy's is responsible for the vast quantities of packing peanuts we've had to discard over the past several months, and more than once we received an item from our china pattern packed in a flimsy, much-too-big gift box, and then in a carton that could have held everything on our registry. It wasn't broken, but it was pretty ridiculous.

A lot of this waste, from Macy's and from everyone else, was due to the need to accomodate giftwrap. So if I may offer one tip to those of you who might be buying and sending registry gifts in the future: Don't spring for the giftwrap. I know they offer you the option at checkout, and it seems like a nice gesture, and maybe it's not even that terribly expensive in some cases. I might have been inclined to go for the giftwrap myself, thinking it would add an extra touch of class to the gift-giving process. But trust me: no newlyweds (or newlyweds-to-be) are going to open a box from Bed Bath & Beyond or Macy's or wherever and say, "Oh, how nice, it's giftwrapped!" Because that would be like saying, "Oh, how fun -- another box to open, and then break down and bring to the basement to be recycled!" This gets old fast. Opening the outer carton is more than enough, especially since there's usually a packing slip placed on top of the gift box, so you can see what's in it and who sent it without even bothering to untie the bow. And when you do send something giftwrapped, it means the store has to package it twice -- and, based on what I've seen, they tend to do a lousy job of that. So the main result is a big increase in bubblewrap, styrofoam peanuts and cardboard, and in effort on the part of the recipient. (The only exeption is Crate & Barrel -- their giftwrapping is very well done.) I don't mean to sound ungrateful, because I do appreciate the gesture. And When it's an isolated gift, having it wrapped may indeed be a nice touch, but for wedding gifts, save yourself the expense. I promise you, the couple won't mind.

Finally: I like to think I'm pretty mature, but I admit I laughed a lot when I saw this product packaging:Honey, I think this one's for youOh, I already have that.

(To read all my wedding-registry reviews, click here.)

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