Monday, December 8, 2008

Universal Gift Registries?

Has anyone out there seen or experienced a quality universal gift registry? I've had conversations with others in the engaged posse lately about the best way to go about registering and I'm feeling a little lost. To be perfectly honest, I'm not very excited about it. Crazy, I know. But I have my reasons...
  1. Anything we need, we already own
  2. I'm a slow decision maker on all fronts, including shopping for inexpensive items. I don't want just any butter dish from just any store that happens to have the little registry gun, I want a butter dish that I love, most likely from a store that doesn't have registry capabilities. I'd rather shop my little heart out and purchase something that makes me smile everytime I use it, rather than the one they just happen to stock in the store I'm in.
  3. A lot of the things we really want are high ticket items: couches, coffee table, headboard, art, a brand new car. Ok, just kidding about that last one (at least about registering for it), but you get my point. It would be absurd to register for an $800 couch...unless many people could pitch in for the couch--then it would be awesome!
  4. I prefer handmade when possible. I also appreciate thoughtful gifts that I didn't ask for, on occasion. (Gasp!) Especially when used, vintage, or handmade.
  5. I also don't mind second hand. If we're looking for a kitchen mixer, it's not going to hurt my feelings at all if someone gets me one from Craigslist or eBay, rather than Williams Sonoma. In fact, I'll probably appreciate it more--because you were a savvy shopper, and we're consuming less by using pre-owned goods.

See, lots and lots of reasons to hesitate on the typical registry. Could I go crazy in a Crate & Barrel with a registry gun? Of course--I don't have that much will power! But I can assure you that it would be collection of convenience, rather than from the heart.

So anyway, does anyone know of any registries that might fit the following criteria:

  1. Free to use
  2. Are able to pull items from anywhere on the web--ideally even non-shopping sites (like photos of a general concept of something we'd like)
  3. Work like a regular registry--so if one person buys it, others will know
  4. Include photos of the items in the listing (not through a separate link)
  5. Allow for "partial purchasing"--pitching in on large ticket items
  6. Generally pleasing to the eye, and easy to navigate and use

So far we've found 2 sites that meet a portion of the criteria, but none that quite fit all. Felicite allows for partial purchase, but doesn't appear to have photos of the items in the list. TheThingsIWant.com is probably the best I've found so far. The only thing it appears to be missing is the partial purchase option. Big bummer. The cool thing though, is that you can mark an item as "Offline Reserved", which I think means that you're marking it as taken--but not necessarily buying it through the link provided. So maybe you found it cheaper elsewhere, or can gift a used one (from the back of your kitchen cabinet), or are going to make something similar with your own two hands, special for us. :)

When it comes down to it, I suppose we can list more than one registry site in order request a few partial purchase style items elsewhere; most people list multiple department stores so it really wouldn't be any different. It would just be really awesome to be able to have it all (with the capabilities we want) in one place. So if you have any good tips, let us know!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

do i smell a business opportunity in the making here? :) for you of course - not me! love you! xoxoxxox

Jordan said...

haha looks like I had the same idea as mom. Go ahead and design this yourself, then you will be rich and we can afford to open out scrap/fabric store. cha-ching!

Anonymous said...

i just ran into wishpot...it's looking pretty good.

-kate

Catherine said...

amazon.com?