Elite Gifting

It was around this time last year that my brother had a chance to secure a PS5 from a preorder. Well fast forward to Dec 15th and he, uh, not only didn’t do that, but claimed it was the only thing he wanted as it became increasingly and obviously impossible to procure. For about six weeks, I was melted by alerts I’d set up for discords and annoying Twitter follows in addition to adding browser tweaks and looking for cart vulnerabilities. After a bunch of annoying near-misses, I miraculously copped halfway through December and received the unit in time. I’ll never do that shit again.

That anecdote describes one method of elite gifting: scoring the impossible item that everyone on earth covets. It’s the Turbo Man approach to gifting. The point of the story is that it’s not the preferred method due to the inevitable pain and suffering of the search process. And whatever the normal amount of that was in the past, you can basically raise it to some power now in the pandemic world where everyone is WFH as a part-time flipper.

There’s a better method though. Throughout the year, I make notes about elite gift ideas and store them away in my super secret gifting journal. It was March and you stumbled onto Cooks Illustrated where you’re reading about the best food thermometers money can buy, and suddenly you realize the Thermapen is a great gift for your in-laws (I’ll describe why in another post). Well, you better write that shit down immediately because I can tell you these magical nuggets are fleeting and ephemeral.

It’s October 20 and supply chains are wrecked, so I’m knocking out the easiest things on the list right now. Let’s see what you’ve got in terms of gifting ideas, theories, strategies, etc. Can you predict the Turbo Man of 2021? Maybe you are in search of elite gift ideas. We will take all comers in this thread who are interested in upping their gift game to the elite level.


A few weeks ago, I was listening to the Slate Political Gabfest, and one of the hosts mentioned this book:

which sounded perfect for my wife’s brother. She always struggles to pick something for him for Christmas, so I sent her a link and BAM - Christmas gift purchased two months early.

I always envy people who keep a gift list throughout the year. It’s an obviously good idea, but I’m apparently too lazy to do it.

I read the title as Elite Grifting and didn’t realize my error until the second paragraph.




I almost included a paragraph of your telling of you and wifey not shopping for each other because you just buy stuff when you want it. What I’m saying is that ELITE GIFTING goes beyond that, because it’s not just stuff that you want and ask for. That’s boring unless it’s Turbo Man impossibility tier. That’s basic gifting. The recipient should have no reasonable expectation of receiving the gift, but the other half of that equation is that you can’t miss which means you have to put in some work.

Here’s an example of elite gifting: A few years ago I was visiting my parents and stopped in an antique shop in their town. I saw a vintage 1960s-era arc lamp that I was ready to buy on the spot, but the store lady literally would not sell it to me claiming that it was from her personal collection and only being used to stage a window display. Annoyed, I mentioned it to my parents in passing. Well imagine my surprise unwrapping it six months later.

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I thought we were finally getting rich off the idiots.


This book looks good didn’t mean to imply that wasn’t a solid gift. Also, your signed baseball book could be solid for a baseball fan. I’ve done personalized / signed items as elite gifts in the past.

Have you told this story on here before? I got a stromg sense of deja vu reading it.

4thing reading the title as “Elite Grifting”

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My gifting strategy is nowhere near elite, but I’ve had success just trolling https://slickdeals.net/ (especially during Black Friday season) and using the best discounts to pick up higher-quality gifts than people would normally receive. High-end knives, for example.

I did spend one holiday season wood-crafting gifts for everyone, but fuck doing that again. I’m sure I dumped 20 hours into that bullshit, and the shipping almost cost more than it would have to just execute strategy #1 above.

Also saw “elite grifting” and was wondering why this was in Sundry Chitchat.

I generally hate the idea of gifting. The people who I buy gifts for have the means to get whatever I would be giving them, if they wanted it. And vice-versa. Nieces and nephews - and non-child younger relatives in general - may be an exception, but even they have so much stuff already it’s ridiculous.

I do love the surprise/suspense of everyone on Xmas morning opening a bunch of stuff, though.

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The judges have conferred and are scoring this as an elite gifting method.

Not sure but don’t think so. That same shop owner has an original Florence Knoll sofa collecting dust that she told me was absolutely not for sale. If someone can excavate that for me at a reasonable price I’ll do backflips.

I don’t have a crystal ball but for new items released in 2021, it seems like the Nintendo Switch OLED ($349) has the potential to be a Turbo Man. Playstation 5 is still very difficult to get but that’s old news now.

I remember what I was thinking of. One of my best friends managed to buy an antique lamp that wasn’t for sale from some store in South Carolina and have it shipped up to NJ when his mom mentioned how much she loved it after they vacationed there. He had it restored and surprised her with it, was definitely one of her favorite gifts given the effort it took.

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Someone just got replaced in the will

Another pro tip along these lines: My dad is a military veteran and we discovered a few years ago that signing him up for http://www.shopmyexchange.com/ was actually pretty easy. The two biggest pros of this site are (1) it’s barricaded to a smaller pool of buyers and (2) there’s no sales tax. He gifted my brother a PS5 accessory that was sold out everywhere except the exchange last year which is where (1) can be a nice perk.

He also takes advantage of military discounts through companies like Apple who offer 10% off. The verification process was pretty simple (for me to do for them) using ID.me. I think they also used it at Nike and a few other places to score better prices on gifts.

In addition to military, some places extend these discounts to first responders and even some healthcare professionals now I think, so could be worth checking into for anyone that has close family / relatives in these fields.

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Oh shit. Where’s the Elite Grifting thread?

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What is the cheapest tier (USD) of “nice” gift you can expect to buy someone in 2021? Think of something you’d be pleasantly surprised by and quite happy to receive yourself. Assume it’s a person you normally buy for but not someone you’d spend large money on like a spouse or children. If you have strong feelings about a precise amount that isn’t listed, please specify. Votes are anon.

  • About $25
  • About $50
  • About $75
  • About $100
  • Over $100

0 voters