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Woman Refuses $800 Pen As Graduation Gift From Her Parents


It’s the thought that counts.

That’s the life mantra people are taught when receiving gifts.

But what if the gift is just the wrong choice?

Is it rude to be truthful?

Case in point…

Redditor FaithWizard wanted to discuss her experience and get some feedback. So naturally, she came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

She asked:

“AITA for wanting to give my daughter a graduation gift of my choice?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My daughter (25 F[emale]) is graduating from her postgraduate PhD, and my husband and I (52 F) wanted to give her a gift that reflected both her years of extreme hard work and her academic achievement.”

“We took a long time to consider what presents we’ll buy and finally decided on a really nice pen: the Mont Blanc special edition pen that costs $845.”

“It’s a big purchase, but we felt it joyful with the enormity of the occasion.”

“As we were overseas, we ordered the pen in advance (we didn’t want to be late) and today, my daughter received the package from D[alsey] H[illblom] L[ynn].”

“After opening the present, she called me to tell me it’s not really her style and she doesn’t use a pen.”

“I explained to her the logic: we wanted something that has to do with academia and penmanship and that will last forever with minimum maintenance.”

“Something exquisite and classy.”

“Something that says that she’s special to us, and that she can use to sign her first house purchase contract, her first employment contract, her marriage certificate…”

“All the momentous occasions in her life.”

“She persisted by saying that she’d prefer something like an Apple Watch or a leather bag instead.”

“I explained that the Apple Watch will be obsolete in about 5 years and in my honest opinion, the leather bag is not associated with academia; it’s more of a fashion item she can buy for herself later on.”

“She repeated that she already has 2 other pens (Parker & Sheaffer, I think) but she doesn’t use them.”

“She then added that ‘it’s not my style, and to be honest, it’s a little tacky… it is more your style though!'”

“I am floored!”

“Am I so out of touch with protocol that I need to buy whatever the receiver wanted and asked for?”

“Am I out of touch for thinking she’s rude and ungrateful?”

“It’s the Mont Blanc Muses Marilyn Monroe special edition.”

“AITA for insisting on giving the pen?” 

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared OP WAS the A**hole.

“YTA. This is a gift of a bygone era that is no long relevant for most people today.”

“You should get people gifts that they want/need/like… not give them something you wish to receive.”

“Part of a good gift is paying attention to the person and knowing them well enough/caring enough to choose something that suits them.” ~ squirlysquirel

“I agree. Giving a gift is not about the giver, it is about the recipient.”

“It’s aggressive to force unwanted gifts.”

“You sound like a snob?”

“Im sure that wasn’t your intent, but you might try and not make it all about you.” ~ MarmotMossBay

“My personal rule is that a gift should reflect the hunger and the recipient.”

“I try to pick gifts that are for places the receiver and I meet: things were do together, things we talk about.”

“I give Board games to my board game friends, and books I’ve loved to my sister, and craft things to my mom, etc.”

“That’s why I think this is weird, to me the leather bag is a great meeting place between what daughter wants and the sentiment OP was trying to give.” ~ LimitlessMegan

“Seriously, that’s my opinion too, I’m also in academia and there is hardly a need for expensive pens or any symbolism.”

“The examples of what the pen will be used for btw that OP gives have absolutely nothing to do with academia.”

“I don’t think OP understands what her daughter dis during her PHD.” ~ lellyla

“I don’t want to be rude but the daughter is 100% right that pen is so tacky, what a waste of money especially for someone who doesn’t use a pen very often if at all.” ~ Loke_y

“Exactly! And if OP is fixated on Montblanc as an idea of something that is ‘classy’, they do some lovely leather bags and backpacks which are super functional and will last for years.”

“Which is something the daughter actually wanted!” ~ iguanadia

“As soon as OP started saying how ‘WE wanted to give you a gift…’ she lost me.”

“This is a big moment, OP, as you mentioned.”

“It’s not about YOU.”

“It’s about your daughter’s accomplishments and rewarding them.”

“So why would you buy her something she doesn’t want?”

“I agree, you’re coming off as snobbish and self-centered.”

“Maybe try evaluating why it’s so important to you that you force a fancy gift on her she doesn’t want.”

“Maybe she’s not the type to want keepsakes, maybe she prefers practical things.”

“Or maybe she prefers choosing her own keepsakes (after all, that means they have more meaning).”

“But one thing’s for sure- if you keep pushing a gift she doesn’t want, YTA.”

“Also, just have to add- why did you jump from ‘pens are useful! you never know when you need one!’ to ‘it’s a keepsake, it doesn’t need to be something practical that you’ll use!'”

“You’re being so stubborn you’re contradicting yourself.” ~ Willowed-Wisp

OP came back with some deets…

“PS: What I don’t include in my earlier post is: She’s already been gifted her 2 watches, a car, earrings, jewellery and for her new place, house warming presents like instant pot pressure cooker, bed+ mattress and a robot vacuum cleaner.”

“And… I was also gifted pens all those years ago, which I didn’t think I’d use… until I had to go for business meetings.”

“PPS: I see there are lots of commenters here think that giving something useful and that she likes is the way to go.”

“But what you’re not taking into account is the fact that the gift is not supposed to be practical.”

“It’s for keepsakes.”

“All the useful presents from past and present were given when needed, not during birthdays or Christmas or graduations.”

“And ask if them is now obsolete and discarded.”

Reddit continued…

“YTA – A nice leather bag will last a long time, and gets better with age.”

‘Also, it’s useful for her work and is a status piece that she’ll use all the time and think of you when she does.”

“If you must give her the pen, be sure to include the gift receipt so she can get something that’s not a waste of money, and that she appreciates.” ~ buck_godot

“Ehh, I see why you’re upset, but I understand more why SHE’S upset.”

“My own parents bought me an expensive watch when I graduated.”

“I don’t wear watches (I use my phone) and am a little clumsy, so I would only scratch it.”

“I don’t want them to keep buying me expensive presents if I’m just not going to use it (and they would be offended that I’m not wearing it).”

“I was only upset that they spent so much money for nothing, money that could have otherwise really helped me out.”

“I would say your heart is in the right place, but YTA for thinking she’s rude and ungrateful for telling you it’s not her style.”

“At least you won’t buy her more pens in the future, lol.”

“I personally would rather receive nothing from my parents than have them spend all that money for nothing.”  ~ trex_on_a_bike

“When I was in college my mother gave me a dress for Christmas.”

“I thought it was hideous but graciously thanked her for it.”

“Months later she was visiting me when I had surgery.”

“She was looking in my closet for my robe and, lo and behold, there was the unworn dress with the tags still on it.”

“Unlike OP, my mom told me that, in the future, if I disliked a gift I should just tell her.”

“Otherwise it’s just a waste of money for her and essentially not getting something for me.”

“Because the purpose of a gift is to make the recipient happy.”

“Take a lesson from my mom OP and get your daughter something that she wants, not something you want to give. YTA.” ~ dr-pebbles

“YTA- First off ,that’s wayyyy to much for a pen.”

“Also sounds like to me you got something YOU liked, not something she liked at all.”

“Just because you spent lots of money doesn’t automatically make it a good gift.”

“Why is it so hard to just get her what she wants?”

“While I agree with the Apple Watch, A leather bag would be an awesome choice!”

“Messenger and book bags have long since been a staple of academia and you are fooling yourself to say they have no ties to it.”

“You could personalize it as well, and it could literally be something she could give her kids if she maintained it.”

“I think you just don’t like this idea because you didn’t think of it.”

“A pen is a crappy gift after 7 years.”

“For the same price you could have gotten her a set of earrings (something classy to mark the occasion), a weekend cruise (events that makes memories are the best gift scientifically by the way) or even just taken her out to eat.”

“Also I would feel terrible if someone spent 800 bucks on me just to give me a hunk of crap I’d shove in my office and never use.”

“Why don’t you return the pen and do something fun together instead?” ~ Gingerthebee

“Don’t forget OP’s edit – gifts aren’t supposed to be practical!”

“Rolling my eyes hard here.”

“You know what happens to gifts that aren’t practical?”

“They get re-gifted or donated.”

“OP is incredibly obtuse.” ~ morbid_n_creepifying

Well OP, unfortunately Reddit is not with you here.

Though your heart was in the right place, it maybe time for a gift receipt.

Congratulations on the graduation.