When I go on Facebook and wish a friend--or even a "friend"--a "Happy Birthday," I don't particularly mind a message popping up encouraging me to "Send Lemuel [for example] a Starbuck's gift card." I don't actually send Lemuel such a gift, but I don't mind the reminder. After all, it's the thought that counts, so even if Facebook is forcing me to have the thought. . . well, you're welcome, Lemuel!
Lately, though, I've noticed definite "gift-encouragement creep." It started when I congratulated someone on his wedding. I was encouraged to send--let's say, Zoltan--an Amazon gift card. Well, OK--a wedding is an appropriate gift-giving occasion. But then I made a comment--not even a congratulations, as I recall--on someone's picture of his five-year-old graduating from kindergarten--AND I WAS EXHORTED TO "SEND ZIPPY A TGI FRIDAY'S GIFT CERTIFICATE"!
Now, come on, Folks! First of all, I'm not convinced that graduating from kindergarten is even a thing, much less an occasion for gift-giving or congratulations! When I graduated from kindergarten, the only "congratulations" I got was an extra scoop of macaroni and cheese and a day off from cleaning the scullery! (Oh, mine was a hard childhood!) Second of all, if anyone deserves a TGI Friday's gift certificate for graduating kindergarten, I would think it is Zippy's five-year-old, rather than Zippy himself!
Where will it end? Will we soon be encouraged to send Home Depot gift cards to anyone whose status we "Like"? Can we no longer engage in minimally effortful communications with our friends, acquaintances, and virtual stalkers without constant intrusions of the crassest commercial nature? Resist, I say! Save your gift-giving for those times when it is truly merited. . . like, when you read a truly entertaining blog post.