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“You really shouldn't have!” Coping with failed gift experiences

Branco-Illodo, Ines; Heath, Teresa; Tynan, Caroline


Ines Branco-Illodo

Teresa Heath

Caroline Tynan


Purpose-This paper examines coping approaches used by receivers to deal with failed gift experiences, thereby dealing with misperceptions between givers and receivers that could affect their relationship. Design/methodology/approach-This study employs a sequential, multimethod methodology using background questionnaires, online diary method and 27 semi-structured interviews. Findings-Receivers cope with failed gift experiences through concealing, disclosing or re-evaluating the gift experience. These approaches encompass several coping strategies, allowing receivers to deal with their experiences in ways that help them manage their relationships with givers. Research limitations/implications: Informants described gift experiences in their own terms without being prompted to talk about coping, thus some insights of coping with failed gifts may have been missed. Multiple data collection methods were employed to minimise this limitation and the research findings suggest new avenues for future research. Practical implications: The present research helps retailers and brands to minimise gift failure by promoting gifts that emphasise aspects of the giver-receiver relationship, assists givers in their learning from gift failure by making them aware of the receiver's preferences, and reduces the cost of gift failure by offering further opportunities to dispose of unwanted gifts. Originality/value-This paper contributes to the emerging topic of consumer coping by providing a novel and rounded understanding of coping in the context of failed gift events; identifying new reasons for gift failure; highlighting receivers' ethical considerations when responding to failed gifts and; proposing new insights for the coping literature.


Branco-Illodo, I., Heath, T., & Tynan, C. (2020). “You really shouldn't have!” Coping with failed gift experiences. European Journal of Marketing, ahead-of-print(ahead-of-print),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 28, 2020
Online Publication Date Mar 7, 2020
Publication Date Mar 7, 2020
Deposit Date Feb 18, 2020
Publicly Available Date Mar 7, 2020
Journal European Journal of Marketing
Print ISSN 0309-0566
Electronic ISSN 0309-0566
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume ahead-of-print
Issue ahead-of-print
Keywords Gift-giving; Gift failure; Gift-receiving; Coping; Marketing
Public URL
Publisher URL


IBB TPH ACT You Shouldnt Have - Coping With Failed Gifts EJM 2020 Authors Final Copy (1.1 Mb)

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