Unless you are an Oscar-worthy actor it is really quite difficult not to show at least some disappointment when presented with a putrescent gift.
Here are some tactics you might want to use in this situation.
1. Go for the Oscar anyway and say it’s just what you always wanted. This has the advantage of minimizing any embarrassing moments but it’s probably obvious that you don’t mean it. And keep it short, Forrest Whittaker you ain’t.
2. Pretend that they have actually given you a million dollars. This might be slightly embarrassing after you have danced around the room whooping, hugged everyone in sight and planted a big kiss on his or her mouth.
3. Start to say thank you and then pretend someone has just come into the room that you really need to see. This could be a problem if there are just the two of you but should work in large crowds.
4. Clutch your chest, start wheezing and shout “I think I’m having a heart attack!”. This only really works if you can belch on demand and claim it was gas before anyone calls 911. It’s also worth pre-warning any loved ones so they don’t get too worried. Although this could mean they won’t do anything if you really do have a heart attack!
5. Talk really slowly, or repeat yourself, to give yourself time to come up with a response. “Well, well, well. Will you look at that. Wow. Well I never. Never got one of these before” should give you time to work on a diplomatic response.
6. Change the subject rapidly. Start talking about the gift and then branch off onto how you saw one on vacation once, and what a great vacation it was and have they ever been there? Vacation stories always drive people away!
7. Resolve to get them an equally bad gift next time that should put a smile on your face!
Above all remind yourself that they have tried their best and have taken the time to get you something. And remember – there’s always eBay!