Monday, December 5, 2016

Unwanted chocolate carries burden of punishment

Public domain image by George Hodan
At Personal Branding Blog, Maria Elena Duron cautions against gifts that hurt the giver’s personal brand, by “shouting” to the recipient that the giver doesn’t know him or her.

While the piece was written in 2014, I find another giving season looms with an emphasis on chocolate and sweets. And so, as a person who intensely dislikes desserts, I want to offer my perspective concerning gifts that hurt the giver’s brand.

Duron lambasts the thoughtlessness of a coffee-franchise gift card given to a person who is not a coffee drinker, but excuses — even advocates — giving chocolate to all of a person’s contacts.

I don’t understand this inconsistency.

For me, a gift of chocolate or dessert IS the gift that screams, “I don’t know you.” Enclosing a note, even with personalized compliment, which asks, “Do you like chocolate?” doesn’t make it all right.

Why is it OK to give chocolate to your contacts — but not a coffee gift card — simply because you wrote a note that included a question? And why is that question only being asked now, when the recipient is tasked with having to dispose of an unsuitable gift?

I want Duron to consider this observation by Madison Moore, writing Aug. 19, 2013: “People who don’t like chocolate feel the burden of punishment for their choice all the time.” (From “Yes, There are People who Don’t Like Chocolate”)

Moore was talking about chocolates being the only things left in an office donut box, meaning “No sweetness” for the person who likes sweets, but simply doesn’t like chocolate.

Now imagine the “burden of punishment” if, in addition to not liking chocolate, you hate sweets, hate dessert?

For me, that “burden of punishment all the time” includes arguments from people convinced I should stray from my “dieting” just this once, and eat this chocolate, this dessert.

People refuse to grasp that I abstain through choice and those who do, tend to go on about how “in awe” they are of me. Their statements might be meant as compliments, but they reinforce my abnormality in a society where “everyone” likes chocolate and dessert and therefore someone who does not, is “news-worthy.”

Your gift of chocolate doesn’t exist in isolation so would you really, purposely, give a gift that evokes such unpleasantness?

If your gift was truly a “sincere gift of gratitude,” you would have done your homework; you would have asked, “Do you like chocolate?” as part of building the close connection that you are supposedly honoring.

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