A Lesson About Giving Gifts 

Cats Don’t Drink Sprite 

While growing up, we never had a household pet because Mama couldn’t think anything of animals beyond eating them. Maybe it’s because she already had 3 stubborn kids and adding an extra life form would just be trouble. But my sisters and I, we wanted a pet more than anything in the world, a cute little puppy whose name we’ll change every week and hide inside our backpack to school to showoff to our friends. What a childhood bliss. Anyways, you can imagine my joy when I found a stray cat in our backyard one evening, I quickly went back into the house and got a pail of milk for it. I did it consistently for the next three weeks, bringing out milk for it every evening. It was my little secret. One day, I decided Mrs Cat needed a change and poured her sprite instead (if you don’t know what sprite is, it’s a soft drink, so just think lemon soft drink), she tasted it and sort of got really pissed I think, because she catwalked away and never ever came back. Not a lot of people like cats, but I’d choose them over dogs any day since then. 

I learnt a very valuable lesson about cats – just give them milk and don’t try to change it. And this month, roughly 6 years now since the cat incident, I learnt another lesson from the cat incident. Give people what they want, not what you think they should want. 

The Lesson About Giving 

I gave Babe a really pretty fancy bedsheet for his birthday last year. He has never used, touched or even looked at it. I felt wronged, but what I had failed to understand then was that it wasn’t what he wanted. Giving gifts is not about the giver’s ego or whatever, it’s for the receiver’s. The receiver should be able to feel like you had them in mind while getting the gift. 

I made a valentine gift list on what to get Babe. Since I believe in getting people stuffs they’ll actually use in their daily lives, the list contained items like wall clock battery, marker, pens, maybe a belt and something for his hair like a personal clipper, all in red of course (I’m the worst, I know). I don’t believe in the chocolates and card thing. Luckily for me, I had the sense to ask Babe what he’d like, his replies were waaay different from what I had listed down. I still wanted to go on with what was on my own list, his was just unnecessary to me, why would anyone want protein supplements? But today I remembered the story of the cat incident. 

Don’t give people what you want, don’t think you know better. If they ask for a yellow house, give them a yellow house and nothing more, nothing less. When getting a gift, it should be totally about the receiver, you may not like it, but it’s what they want, do you get me yet? 

Sometimes we want to give someone something really big, nice and expensive and we feel good about it, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll like it. Some people like big and expensive, they’ll never appreciate the worth of a gift if it ain’t big and expensive, some people like small and shiny, if you get them big and expensive, they’ll see it as a waste of money that should have gone into buying coke instead or giving it to a charity. Don’t just try to make decisions for people okay? This valentine, get that special someone something they really want. If you already know what they want, thumbs up for you honey, if you don’t know what they want yet, get off your ass and go ask them now. Or you just might end up making them walk away, because you gave them sprite instead of milk. 


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