New East Digital Archive

This new Russian service lets you exchange unwanted gifts for… possibly more unwanted gifts

This new Russian service lets you exchange unwanted gifts for... possibly more unwanted gifts
Image: Urldircom

28 February 2018

Russia is a land of ingenious startups and gendered holidays, so the two were destined to merge.

Two anonymous businessmen identified by Russian business website only as Roman and Joseph have launched a startup called the Gift Utilisation Service, which lets men who’ve received unwanted and boring gifts from their girlfriends on Russia’s Day of the Defender of the Fatherland, celebrated on the 23 February, to exchange them for something to gift back to their girlfriends for the International Women’s Day two weeks later.

The service accepts stereotypically uninventive 23 February gifts such as socks and shower gel, along with additional payment starting from 500 roubles ($9). In return, the service promises to deliver a bouquet of roses to a pre-chosen address on 8 March — celebrated in Russia as a holiday of stereotypical femininity rather than a day marking the struggle for emancipation struggle. “Don’t sweat over your 8 March gift — because clearly your girlfriend didn’t bother either”, the website for the service explains.

In order to make the exchange, men are invited to fill out an application form on the company’s website and then wait for a courier to arrive to collect the items they want to exchange.

The Gift Utilisation Service isn’t the only inventive start-up to target the 8 March celebrations. Last year, the holiday was also celebrated by companies renting giant flower bouquets to women in order to get the perfect Instagram snap.