Wednesday, January 13, 2010

To Register or not to Register?

Of course we're going to register. I am faaaaaaaaaar too picky about pots to leave it up to people that would think that an 8piece nonstick pot set is better than 2 individual anodized aluminum pots. But that's not the point of this post.

I've had a few friends say recently that they don't give gifts off their friends registries because, "nobody actually wants the stuff on the registry - they just want money." First of all, hearing this always hurts my feelings. Because it's not true, and it's not fair. Some people would surely rather have cash, and there are people for whom that makes sense. My sister found that what they really needed was grownup furniture. But they still registered for things they wanted and needed, and enjoyed receiving those gifts and didn't register for anything they didn't actually need or want. Because why would you? Even if the online app is telling you that you haven't registered for enough, why put down things you don't actually want? Please don't do that. If you can't find enough stuff, tell your parents (who are who your guests will complain to about your registry) that what you would really need is money for your honeymoon, your house, furniture, etc. People understand that you already have a toaster, they do.

The reason this "nobody wants the things on their registry" mentality bothers me though, is because, yes, I do want the things on our registry. And if you just give us cash instead of buying us the Roomba, the cash is going to go into our joint savings account. Instead of buying our Roomba, we will procrastinate and we will buy food with the money instead. When we do go to buy the Roomba, because the money went from being "your" money to "our" money, our instinct will be to save it. It will be to say, "well, the vacuum we have is good enough." We will do the same thing with our pots, our pans, our toaster. When we do buy the item, it will be a cheaper model, because now we're spending our money. It will be to let your wonderful, generous wedding gift go unused or towards other things that are not wedding-gift worthy.

There's another reason though. If you give us cash, we will have to go shop for the item that you could have bought us, but gave us cash for instead. And therein lies the problem with us: we really hate going shopping together (except for to the grocery store). It's pretty much the least pleasant thing we've ever done together. We bicker and we argue and instead of just buying the damn thing off the registry, that we bickered about putting on the registry, we will instead re-evaluate whether we want that item. Then we will research it on Amazon and see if the one we registered for wherever we registered for it is really the best value, the best model. If you had just bought us the damn mandoline, you would have saved us an afternoon of agony and annoyance.

So please, don't listen to people who say things like "nobody wants the things on their registry" and "doesn't everybody just want cash nowadays?" I also like it when people give cash for "a nice dinner out" or to cover the cost of a particular item or service, like a couples massage or steam cleaning the carpets or anything that you think, or know, that they need and would enjoy. If you know the couple wants cash, that is one thing. But if you know they just bought a house and they've been getting by with their crappy college Ikea pots and pans? No, they don't just want cash. If their registry has a lot on it, assume they actually need the items, and assume that they don't, in fact, want the joy of shopping for their own gifts.

Do you think registries are a good thing, or an elaborate hoax by the couple to just ask for cash instead?


  1. I agree that it doesn't make sense to register for things you don't want. We registered for things we want and need, and if people are giving us gifts, we do hope they will buy off of our registry!

  2. I've come around to the idea of registering - I started it last night with my fiance. I got a bad reaction from a sister-in-law when I said we weren't planning on registering... no one up to that point had had a bad reaction to it!
    And I agree with what you've said - everything we're putting on the registry, we could use. If people do give us cash, well, it's probably going to help pay down student debt before it's actually used to buy that serving platter I'll want to have in 10 years!
    Nice post :)

  3. I'm in the middle of registry hell. The whole process feels grabby and then every place we look at registering has stuff online that they don't have in stores, or they have sale prices listed that are what SHOULD be the regular price, or I worry that what we're asking for is too extravagant/not extravagant enough, or that we simply haven't found enough stuff to put on the blasted registry in the first place. Will people be dissapointed that there isn't a better selection? Will they think we're too grabby?

    Ugh. Srsly hate this whole damn registry buisness. Hate.

    So maybe a fistful of cash actually would be easier, I'd rather have one afternoon of shopping hell, then two weeks of registry angst. That being said, the stuff on our registry is stuff we would like, and I will be disappointed if we spend all this time compiling it, and then nobody buys off of it.

  4. I hated the idea of registries untill it was time for me to make one, and guests started telling me how much they relied on them. A lot of younger people feel better about giving gift cards and cash, but a lot of older folks really want to get you a *thing* that they can picture you using. I wound up getting really excited about the registry, because you can register for things you really need, but don't get that excited about buying (ie. towels) and it becomes fun because it's a gift (yay! we got towels!).

    The extra bonus is that my registry is still up for a year, and my mom and brother have been using it as a wish list for holidays and birthdays.

    As far as prices, I figured that most people would spend about fifty bucks on a gift, so I tried to choose things that were in that vain (the flatwear was about $25 a set, so someone might buy two sets). There will always be some people who splurge, so having a few more expensive things isn't bad too. Plus, a bunch of places let you buy anything left on your registry for a discount, so we put on a few things we knew no one would buy, because we wanted to get it ourselves later with the 10% off.

  5. I LOVE registries. There's never any ambiguity about what people need, and you know that they'll love the gift. Why? Because they picked it! It's also great if you don't actually have a lot of cash to spend. Instead of feeling bad about how much cash you're giving (or not giving, as the case may be), you can definitely feel good about something that may not cost a lot, but is something that they want.

  6. I completely agree with you about "your money becoming our money and then we pay bills." It happens every year to me on Christmas, my birthday, etc. I get cash, bills get paid, or we get a new comp for the honey because his died, or etc, etc.

  7. I love shopping off of registries.

    And I think you are so right about felling like you need to save the cash, or spend it on practical things.

    We registered for money for our honeymoon. But a little part of me now wishes we had "things" that we got for our wedding. Tangible things. Like - we got this pot for our wedding.

  8. We're registering for lots of stuff, and all of it is stuff we actually need. I REALLY hope people buy us the registry stuff instead of giving us money. We want fiestaware! We want a nice stock pot! We don't want to have to go to the store and then lug it all home on our bikes (that is, if the money we get doesn't get sucked up into debt-reduction/house down-payment fund/etc)!