Can I have a gift bag for the snakes?

August 24, 2010

In the latest installment of our series, “Etiquette Tips for the Totally Clueless,” we provide advice on The art of cross-cultural gift-giving,” or as I would put it, “Presents for people who ought to just take what we give them and shut up.”

I’m here to expand on these tips, in case you still don’t understand that when you’re visiting overseas contacts, it’s best not to buy gifts for them in the Duty Free shop at their own airport.

gifts pandas 490

Our latest etiquette column says a gift should be “portable,” something the recipients can take with them. Brilliant! Who would have guessed?

“Thanks for coming to New York, Günther, we would like to present you with the Chrysler Building. What? No room on your plane? Sorry…”

ARMS/SOMALIAOur piece sagely advises against giving gifts like snakes and dogs – read it yourself if you think I’m making up this gibberish – and that “providing an easy-to-carry bag…is always appreciated.”

In other words, if you find yourself saying, “It’s great doing business with you Judy. Please accept this big pile of snakes, I only wish I had a sack for them,” you’ve screwed up.

Our etiquette column says it would be “very poor form to give a Chinese guest a gift that was actually made in China.” I think this is because a lot of stuff made in China is pure crap, so why would they want it themselves?

ITALYYou’d be pulling a real boner to say, “Mr. Chen, here’s a bag of dog food for you, but check to make sure it’s not some of that toxic garbage from your country.”

Don’t give “sharp objects and weapons,” we advise, because your contact could have trouble at airport security. No s**t, Sherlock?

“What, Nigel, you mean you can’t take this rocket-propelled grenade with you into Heathrow? Well, I never!”

Our piece says the recipient should “never unwrap a gift in front of the giver…”

Sure, that makes sense, because we all know that in our culture, if you tell airport security you accepted a package from someone and don’t know what’s in it, it absolves you of everything.

Our tips go on and on, because it looks like it’s really hard to please those darned foreigners.

But here is my favorite tip of all: “In Singapore…it is the standard to graciously refuse a gift several times before finally accepting it.”

Really? That’s too bad. Because my own standard is, you get one chance to take my gift, and that’s it.

“You can’t accept this, Lamar? I’m SO sorry.  Well, this gold Rolex is already on my expenses, so I guess I’ll just have to keep it myself. So long, sucker!”

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Top: Two giant pandas named “Tuantuan”  (L) and “Yuanyuan”, which means reunion in Chinese, eat bamboo at a giant panda center in Ya’an, Sichuan province December 8, 2008. The two giant pandas, gifted by the mainland to Taiwan in 2005, will travel to Taipei in December this year, China Daily reported. REUTERS/China Daily

Right: A militia from Somalia’s Islamic Union Courts (ICU) holds up a rocket propelled grenade during training on the outskirts of Mogadishu, in this December 11, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Mowlid Abdi/Files

St. Domenico statue is surrounded with snakes at the beginning of St. Domenico’s procession in Cocullo, central Italy, in a 2003 file photo. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico

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Nice to know the gift bag at the OE Bash will not be full of snakes. A lovely donut with sprinkles in each bag would be most appropriate! A nice black lunch bag -it would be a lovely accessory (and could double as a barf bad – just in case). Portable, edible, and capable of keeping the crowd calm.

No piles of snakes for decor, thank you very much.

Posted by Onedoor | Report as abusive

I think I understand. However I may have got lost somewhere between Pandas, grenade launchers, snakes and Chinese….Can I have a Panda please?


Posted by onequartlow | Report as abusive

Umm… the last pic would send down shivers my spine.. which it did… is that normal practice, Mr.B? Since you are our Travel Guru now… you should know! No??

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

I have a friend from Hong Kong who refuses to buy anything made in China. Makes shopping for gifts for her difficult! 😛

Snakes are cool, grenade launchers are cool too. Wonder if anyone has ever tried to launch a snake? Unca, I’d put my money on you having tried it.



Posted by egeria | Report as abusive

Shra, St. Domenico is the patron saint of people who have been bitten by snakes. I will stick with St. Patrick, who had the sense to go where there weren’t any snakes, um, I mean he drove the snakes out of Ireland. I am so going to get it from my patron saint…

Posted by Onedoor | Report as abusive

Thanks for that One…
Unfortunately, I would have to zap ya… coz I learnt something…

Yeah, it is a double edged sword, I am afraid…

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

You go, Shra! Old Testament, all the way, and don’t listen to any of their crappy excuses!

This blog must remain a safe place where readers can come here ignorant, and leave just as ignorant.

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

I rank this blog right up there with my Mad and Cracked magazines. Not that I actually read them, I just look at the pictures. :-O

Posted by justCAM | Report as abusive

Duh, double ouch! One from Shra and one from my protector. Geeze.

egeria: I like snakes best from a distance. Did see a blue racer about 5 ft. that must have been doing a great job of eating mice to get that large. Out in a rural area. Had to admit that was a neat sight, from a distance, that is. Have you ever seen those pvc potato launchers? A couple of my friends made those and they were a hoot! Don’t think it would be wise or easy to launch a snake from one.

Posted by Onedoor | Report as abusive

BG – IQ of a blow dryer. I know nothing.

Posted by Onedoor | Report as abusive

Onequartlow: we are all a tad lost. Enjoy the panda!

Posted by Onedoor | Report as abusive

Isn’t Taiwan part of China? Would it not be in “very poor form” to give them Pandas, which I presume were, you know, made in China?

Pandas, also, not portable, and believe you me, are difficult to put in a bag.

You have to admit, though, that the Panda on the left is cute.

Posted by Billl | Report as abusive

Speaking of Saints, Happy St. Batholomew’s Day, everybody. How do I know it’s St. Bartholomew’s Day? Easy. St. Swithin’s Day was 40 days ago.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

You guys should pay close attention to the blog, because in a few minutes I’m posting what will probably be the Photo of the Year. Everybody is going to want to be the first to recommend it.

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

OOOOHHHH! I can hardly wait for the photo!

Billl: yeah, the Panda on the left looks so much different from the one on the right…

Saints for every day! I just need to keep my angels happy and go from there. That reminds me, I do need to go somewhere!

Posted by Onedoor | Report as abusive

My patron saint protects me from tasers, lasers, lightning bolts, and cattle prods. (But not red liquorice whips, Shra.)

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Doc… you are my main target from now on…. you have been teaching a lot!!!
Here’s a zap for telling something we didnt NEED to learn!

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Pandas make horrible gifts. Does anyone else remember the drunk guy wanting to hug the panda at the zoo? It didn’t go well for him… 406118/Man-bitten-panda-bites-back.html

Posted by drgnbait | Report as abusive

Look Julie, Lamar is barely literate and takes a lot of editing. Sometimes the stuff he turns in is just doodles and stick figures. So it’s really my stuff.

But now thanks to you, I’ll have to renegotiate his contract.

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

@drgnbait… who wouldn’t want to hug a panda?? I think both men a women alike might find it worth having their face ripped off to give it a go. Really, aren’t they just so cuddly wuddly cutesy wootsey???

@Spin… and on the seventh day Basler looked upon His blog and saw it was good. He spaketh upon to Lamar and said “Lamar, I shall watcheth of the football and thou shall typeth of the blog. Any mistakeths thou shall maketh I shall correcteth.” Then Basler did realize that talking with a mouthful of peanut butter made for poor pronuncuation of words.

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

@Spin: Cool breeze, coffee and a couple of zaps get me going. Tightly wrapped at work and try to stsy that way so I don’t frighten anyone. Off today and have been keeping nicely busy, behaving in pubic and touching base with some of my family and friends.

Posted by Onedoor | Report as abusive

Happy to help inform Spin. Which is not to be confused with educating by any means.

Mr. B. is Lamars doodles and stick figures where you get the fashion show photos from?

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

My Patron Saint is St. Swithin, who, I’m told, has to do with the whether from July 15 through St. Bartholomew’s Day, today. So, St. Swithin must control whether I get zapped for teaching from St. Swithin’s Day through St. Bartholomew’s Day.

I’m also protected by the New Orleans Saints.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Snakes – why’d it have to be snakes?
Hey are those real Pandas, or cleverly disguised crocodiles?

Posted by Nosmo_King | Report as abusive

Doc, I think Barbara has lightening.

Posted by CrowGirl | Report as abusive

Doc, my Gods and your Saint have a great rapport.. and they like to see you zapped… So, there.. you aint protected any more!!!
Mwaha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

I like pandas… I had a soft panda-mummy-holding-her-baby toy when I was a kid….
I really liked that toy…

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

If you keep the RPG in your car Unca you won’t even need to use it. Just hang out the window and aim it around if stuck in traffic and watch how fast the roads clear!

Just don’t point it at the cars with the flashy lights on them. They have many many shooty back at you things with many many bullets that cause owies.

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

Of course you would be ready to use it, just would end up not having to. Unless of course that SOB in the SAAB in front of you really is being a POS and drives slow in the left lane. Then the RPG would have to make a big boom.

Although that would cause the cars with flashy lights on them to come again. Damn those flashy lighted cars, never let anyone have any fun.

Ya know what Unca, yeah, you are better off using it as a paperweight.


Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

[…] Finally, as is always the case in every etiquette column, somebody has to give somebody a gift. […]

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