Amazon gets patent for system to 'convert' crummy gifts to wanted ones

woman looking blah at Christmas
woman looking blah at Christmas

If the thought of getting another cable-knit sweater or basket of bath products this Christmas makes you roll your eyes, know that Amazon.com is in your corner. The online retailer has just patented a technology for converting unwanted gifts into things consumers actually want without letting the giver know.

The system works by allowing people to set up gift conversion rules to determine the way gifts purchased online for them might be changed. For example, a rule could say "No clocks," or "Convert all clocks to red wine." "Convert all gifts from Aunt Mildred" could work if a giver traditionally has different tastes, in which case presents come as gift certificates. "Not another XYZ comic strip calendar" could intercept specific unwanted items and convert them to more wanted gifts.

Rules can also be set up at specific times of the year, such as birthdays and holidays, and for specific dollar values. For example, a user can ask that a gift be converted if valued at more than $500 and in the product category of "clothes."