Home Just In Time to Protect You from Unwanted Fruitcake, Amazon Patents a “Gift Converter” System

Just In Time to Protect You from Unwanted Fruitcake, Amazon Patents a “Gift Converter” System

Already dreading the presents you’ll receive this holiday? Or maybe you dread being the person who’s always giving the wrong gift. Either way, Amazon has received a patent today for a “system and method for converting gifts” that looks to help the online retailer preempt, or at least rectify, those unfortunate purchases. The system will allow users to establish “gift conversion rules” that will identify when something is ordered for them that they don’t need or want.

The patent explains the problem as such: “As in other gift-giving situations, it sometimes occurs that gifts purchased on-line do not meet the needs or tastes of the gift recipient. For example, the recipient may already have the item and may not need another one of that same item. Alternatively, the item may not be the right size, the right type, the right style, and so on. In such situations, the recipient may wish to convert the gift to something else, for example, by exchanging the gift for another item or by obtaining a redemption coupon, gift card, or other gift certificate to be redeemed later.”

As one of the sketches supporting the patent suggests, you can also use this to put a cap on the number of hats you receive or to automatically convert VHS to DVDs.

And in case you think this violates etiquette rules about simply smiling and accepting gifts graciously, the patent does include a system for generating a thank-you note for the gift – even if you’ve automatically exchanged it for something else.

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