Amazon's 'Gift Conversion' System Tackles Deadweight Loss

Employees pack boxes at a Amazon center in Germany. i
Use Zucchi/AFP/Getty Images
Employees pack boxes at a Amazon center in Germany.
Use Zucchi/AFP/Getty Images

Amazon must have heard our podcast about inefficient gift-giving, because the company has a patent for brand new "gift conversion" system, which would allow people to return gifts before they even receive them. From the patent description:

As in other gift-giving situations, it sometimes occurs that gifts purchased on-line do not meet the needs or tastes of the gift recipient. However, the process of converting the gift to something else once it has already been opened may be perceived by the recipient as being inconvenient. Accordingly, the recipient may not ultimately convert the gift to something else, even though the gift does not meet the needs or tastes of the recipient. The gift giving experience through network shopping services would be improved for both senders and recipients if enhanced systems and methods were provided for converting gifts

Our friends over at the Two-Way are running a poll to find what people think of Amazon's proposed "gift conversion" system. Personally, I'm all for it. Let's get rid of that deadweight loss.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from