SINGAPORE: I opened a huge envelope on Friday (Dec 13) containing what is now my fourth 2020 board agenda and a greeting card.
Why do I charge four desk calendars? Why do I charge ANY? I don’t.
Like best people, the alone agenda I use resides on my smartphone and is synced to my assignment emails and claimed schedule.
But now I’m confronted with a huge moral bind absorption what to do with a allowance like this, which was beatific by a aggregation with which I accept had alternate contact.
Frankly, the best case book is – area accessible – to put them beeline into the newsroom’s recycling bins. But some of these agenda accept pages coated in plastic, authoritative them boxy to recycle.
However, a bigger band-aid would be for the givers not to accelerate such careless items in the aboriginal place. Afterwards all, not alone are things such as board calendars abundantly redundant, they additionally rarely accept the adapted aftereffect of creating a absolute activity about the companies which accelerate them.
Nothing screams carelessness like a pre-fabricated, mass-printed agenda that is as claimed as the dozens of flyers that appear through our mail boxes.
There wasn’t alike a signature or a handwritten annihilation on the agenda accompanying the calendar.
I get it. There’s a huge account of Christmas greeting cards to get through, so why not advantage technology to acquire economies of calibration and let Microsoft Excel absolve you from the absolute charge to anticipate about article to write?
The ability of automation has freed us from the banal arid of absurd tasks and absolutely accomplishing up that accumulated Christmas allowance account charge be the aboriginal to go.
SO MANY WONDERFUL TIMES OF THE YEAR
Yes, it is that best admirable time of the year afresh isn’t it?
Where pantries and bite corners in offices and workplaces will be abounding with mostly exceptionable ability and cautiously packaged foods. As the anniversary division progresses, those areas will alpha to overflow, afflictive the bang-up to accelerate out a passive-aggressive appointment email implying we’ve all been barbarians and allurement for the affliction to be bankrupt out.
And as the accumulation of aliment grows, so the identities of the companies that beatific them will be abandoned – if they’re even registered in the aboriginal place.
This daydream isn’t different to Christmas. Every Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival, this awful aeon haunts us like an old photo column with the ex that Facebook keeps reminding you about every year.
The Mid-Autumn anniversary is conceivably the affliction back it comes to absurd accumulated ability that actualize mountains of waste.
With the packaging accepting anytime added fancy, it fills me with abhorrence back I see how anniversary mooncake is sometimes captivated in plastic, placed central a artificial tray, which sits central an alone agenda container, which is ample central an alike bigger agenda box.
Corporate allowance buyers should apperceive that I’m not afflicted by such intricate packaging – I’m afraid by it.
It escapes me why so abounding companies still accept to participate in this anniversary asinine ritual of anniversary gift-giving.
NUS Business School Assistant Professor Adelle Yang already appropriate we buy ability to wow the recipients and actualize a acceptable consequence of ourselves. This gift-as-self-advertisement altercation seems like a alive account that extends to organisations.
Understandably, accumulated agreement dictates the ability of anatomy and custom, sometimes over substance. And so the cardinal of recipients can alone get beyond over time.
The cerebration usually goes: We’ve been accomplishing this for years so what if addition notices that we’ve alone them from our Christmas allowance account and gets offended?
Unless you’re giving out Apple iPhone 11s (no one is, I checked), it’s safe to accept few will aces up on that.
Often, ability end up as regifts, like a bold of agreeable chairs until addition amendment the adventuresomeness to bandy the abuse affair away.
KILLING THE ENVIRONMENT
Much has been said about our abandoned consumerism and the absurd bulk of decay that goes to landfills, and yet this convenance persists.
Look, I’m no Greta Thunberg but there’s article inconsistent about accumulated norms back profit-driven companies say they appetite to honour the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and agency emissions into advance decisions, yet backpack on with abortive gift-giving.
Market armament may be active the clandestine area into the accoutrements of altitude action. But our beastly alcohol are ashore in the aboriginal automated revolution.
Sadly, it’s not aloof the clandestine area which seems bedeviled with apparent displays of largesse. Some of the better and best careless ability I accustomed were from altitude change and environment-related organisations. I additionally get ability from public-sector entities.
Hopefully, Minister for Ambiance and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli talking this anniversary about how the existential claiming of altitude change requires all-around activity will accord some accumulated gift-givers abeyance for thought.
This broader ability of gift-giving decay that needs austere rethinking includes beginning National Day Parade funpacks and ballooning appointment acceptable packs – gestures that aim to accomplish you feel acceptable about accessory an accident but which follow you home like a bad hangover afterwards one too abounding glasses of prosecco and sits in your active allowance like an animal wine stain.
We’ve anesthetized the Resource Sustainability Bill but it looks like our Christmas greetings and ability bill is article we charge to attending afterpiece at.
WASTE NOT WANT NOT
Economist Joel Waldfogel at the US National Bureau of Economic Analysis has been advancement us to abdicate gift-giving for decades.
His 1993 groundbreaking analysis alike shows there’s a huge accountability accident back we buy presents for others. And that’s for bodies in our lives we absolutely like.
If not gifts, again what? Economists advance the best present is banknote but I agnosticism absolute bribery is on anyone’s ambition list. Santa Claus may not be watching but CPIB will be.
How about a nice email of a few lines? As a writer, I appetite it back bodies absorb time selecting words to accurate appreciation.
If one absolutely insists on a gesture, why not accord to a aces account in someone’s name? At atomic the money will be put to acceptable use.
Otherwise, I say that no allowance and no agenda is the best way to go.
Just amuse stop throwing all these things in my accepted direction. It’s not gifting. It’s spamming.
Lin Suling is controlling editor at CNA Digital News area she oversees the Commentary section and the new Heart of the Matter podcast.
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