How to Get The Gifts You Want

Written by Paul Wolf

Treat yourself, be clear and get the gifts you want. Advice on empowering your loved ones to get what you want.

Business attorney Mike Fox says that he and his wife don't bother with hints for gifts before holidays or anniversaries.


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Their matter-of-fact approach was evident last week. "Joan and I were in Macy's, and I said, 'That's the watch I want!' So I picked it out and paid for it with my own credit card. That'll be my gift."


For the Foxes, who are tending to the needs of three young children, dropping hints is a luxury they can't afford. But if you're game and you have the time, here are our Prime Nine ways to drop hints and get what you want:


1. Bag the subtlety of hinting very early on.
Mike Fox could rave over a watch for months, but Joan Fox wouldn't necessarily see it as a hint. Wait until your spouse is embarking on a shopping expedition before you slip your hint into a conversation.


2. Express surprise at your own interest in something.
You're watching the tube with your wife and an ad comes on for Neil Diamond's greatest hits in a limited TV offer. You say, 'Don't laugh. I love that guy. Those are great songs.' She hears a confession, not a hint. Reinforce the message two hours later by humming "Song Sung Blue."

3. Respond to your environment.
Note what you like in shop windows, hardware stores and catalogs. Don't actually say you want something. If your mate has half a brain, you'll get half of what you want.


4. Keep up with the Joneses.
San Franciscan Martha Mahan, a member of a lawyers' wives club that holds an annual  banquet, wanted her husband Fred to buy seats at a table. He said no. The next day, she said, "Oh, I was talking to Bob Jones, and he bought a table for 10." Fred then bought a table for 12.

5. Do half the work yourself.
Leave the illustrated guide to your destination of choice on the coffee table. Let him catch you at breakfast leafing through the relevant foreign phrasebook. If he asks you what's up, sigh mysteriously and say, "You never know. Maybe I'll get to go there someday."


6. Use the construction: "When I ..., I will ..."
"When I get down to 170 pounds, I'll buy size 34 jeans again." Give her progress reports on your weight.


7. Use the construction: "If we had a ..., we wouldn't have this problem."
Caution: Don't sound like a commercial ("If we had a Mr. Coffee, we'd always want a second cup!").


8. Use the phrase: "I love everything from ..."
You may just get a gift certificate; but if you were sincere in your admiration for this retailer's merchandise, you'll still wind up a happy camper.


9. Enlist your mutual friends as co-conspirators.
By the time dear old Sally mentions to your wife that you were interested in those super-lightweight tennis rackets, the mission is nine-tenths accomplished. Make a note to invite Sally along the next time you and your family go out for dinner.

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