Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Wishlist: Implementation

Once upon a time a few years ago I was thinking about an old movie I saw as a kid. I couldn't recall the name, but I did remember it was about personified home appliances (like toasters, electric blankets, and whatnot) and that it had a profound effect on me. After a brief interwebz search, I found it: The Brave Little Toaster.

I almost bought it on the spot at Amazon, but I realized it would be kind of a frivilous purchase. Plus, at the time I was not exactly flush with cash. I noticed a link on the Amazon product page that said "Add to wishlist." I sorta figured it was kinda like the same thing as a shopping list, so I added it, thinking it would be nice to have a place to list things I thought about buying but didn't. That way, if I randomly think about it again and see it's already on my wishlist, then I can see that I've thought about it before, and it becomes less of an impulse buy. So I kept adding things to the list like this.

Then, one fateful October, Annie asked me what I wanted for my birthday. In an uncommon moment of clarity, I thought Hey, I've already got a birthday list! I sent her a link to my wishlist. Her response: "Are you serious? You want all these things?" After I calmed her down, I outlined the prinicples of a wishlist:
  • I don't expect to get everything on the list.
  • I provide the list to help people know what to give me; someone can get me something from the list and know that I will like it.
  • The list gives people an idea of the kind of stuff I like, so if they want to get me something off the list, they have an idea.
  • Having a large list maintains the surprise for me. Even if I knew for certain that 10 people were getting me gifts from the list, if I have 100 items on my list I will still be surprised.

She seemed to lighten up after that, and even embraced the idea.

So I say to all of you out there: Make a wishlist, keep it current, and let people know about it!

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