Mystery Registry Gift – New Update

by admin on May 30, 2012

Originally published May 9, 2012:    So I’m getting married soon, and I did create a gift registry (you had to search for it or call someone in my family to know it existed, I was hesitant but people kept asking my mom where I was registered so I made one). I had started one on another site, but decided they were too expensive and (I thought) deleted the registry at that site. We received a present from that registry (the one with nothing on it). It wasn’t something I registered for (although I’m not going to say no), and I didn’t recognize the name on the card or the name on the billing address. I asked my family and my fiance asked his and we asked friends (they also live very far from where anyone we know lives; there’s a return address) and no one knows  either name on the cards. I’m pretty sure this is a mistake, and it’s a computer glitch from someone else’s registry, but we called the company and because of the registry rules, I’m limited in the return-ability (at least, I’d get the cash, not them, which defeats the point).

I feel bad – I am pretty sure I have someone else’s cookware, but there’s not much I can do. My impulse is to send a thank you card – but I don’t know them and I don’t think they meant it for me and the right thing would be to find the correct bride. So… how do I phrase this? Which address do I send it to? Both? What if by some craziness I’m wrong and I do know this person? (Although we’ve done a thorough check). The weird thing is also the store included the price, which I they probably shouldn’t do and the billing address doesn’t match the card attached either, so I’m not exactly sure who/where to address the note to. I’m thinking of just a generic “Thank you for the lovely cooking pot” but I’m afraid of getting back a note “Who is this?” The package was addressed to me.   0502-12

I would be inclined to write a thank you note as follows, assuming you have done due diligence to make sure the gift was not from some distant relative….

Thank you so much for the lovely wedding gift of XXXXXX cookware.   It is beautiful.   I have to confess that I, my fiance and our families are at a loss as to who you are.   I suspect there may be a glitch in the registry and I received a  gift intended for someone else.   If this is the case, I am happy to work with you to resolve this mystery.   Sincerely,  XXXXX


I wrote in before describing how I had received a mystery wedding present from a name I didn’t recognize. I sent a general thank you note. When I got back from the wedding, the card had been returned to sender in the mail as no such person and no forwarding address. I have no idea what to do now! 0525-12

It looks like you have done all you can do.   Enjoy the gift!

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda May 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm

That note is a good solution. It is very easy, especially for an older, non-tech-savvy person like my mother to do something like that. They may have been looking for someone with a similar name and won’t realize their mistake unless they ask the bride or groom about the gift. A prompt thank you, but is this a mistake? note gives them time to get the gift to the intended recipients.

And you may find out that it wasn’t a mistake, yet they are strangers. I’ve heard of people will look at random registries and buy a gift for a complete stranger for no reason other than they feel like doing something nice, they think your registry has a great selection, or whatever strikes them.


Pam May 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Wow! I’d love a follow up to this to see how it turns out – definitely an interesting dillema!


Shiny Gloria May 9, 2012 at 4:49 pm

You might also try looking up names similar to yours on the registry listing for the company that sent the gift. I almost sent a gift to the wrong person because someone with the identical name had a registry at a popular store for registries. It wasn’t until I checked the groom’s name that I discovered it was someone else.


T May 9, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Did you search that website for a registry belonging to someone who has the same name as you or your fiance? I know someone who created a birthday registry and got a gift bought from the wedding registry of someone with the same name.


Cat May 9, 2012 at 7:08 pm

I f you have their name and the place where they live, you can look up their phone number on your computer. I’d give them a phone call and tell them what happened. If it was meant for you, you can follow up with a nice thank you note. If it’s a mistake, you can get the correct person’s address and send it to them, explaining that you received it in error.


lkb May 9, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Admin suggested: ….”If this is the case, I am happy to work with you to resolve this mystery. Sincerely, XXXXX”

IMHO, the suggested note is fine, but perhaps it would be better if the above-quoted sentenced were changed to something like, “If this is the case, I am happy to work with you to get the gift to the right person or make some other arrangement. Sincerely, XXXXX”

It seem to me that this correction would make it abundantly clear that the bride is not just taking the gift and running with it.


Jenny May 9, 2012 at 8:18 pm

OP here. My fiance thought it may possibly have been someone met travelling at work (he has to take business trips quite often and people from companies he works with may have looked him up). But I’d never heard of someone who was only marginally connected and wasn’t invited (the wedding is almost exclusively family) sending a gift.

After seeing responses, I sent a generic thank you card (Thank you for the gift and your wishes, I look forward to using it, etc.) and we both signed it. If they send something back, of course we’ll arrange to make sure the proper person gets it.


Katie May 10, 2012 at 10:39 am

I’d be tempted to send a follow-up note saying something like ‘You may have received our thank-you card for your very generous gift of X item. It has occurred to me, though, that this may have been sent to us by mistake: I have to be honest and say that I do not recognise your name, and I assumed that you must have been an aquaintance of [your husband’s name]. But it turns out that your name is unfamiliar to both of us. Please accept our apologies if we are making a mistake here, but I did not want to accept a gift that was not rightfully intended for us’.

Otherwise, even if it is a mistake, I doubt that the sender would actually get in contact to say so!


Striving For Sense May 10, 2012 at 11:31 am

I have a similar problem. I came in to work one day, and got a surprise. Someone had put some chocolates and a card on my desk. I wanted to thank the person for the chocolates, but I can’t read the signature! I’m not even certain this is from someone in my department, as it’s a large company, with many cross-departmental teams, and it’s not unheard of for people from one department to send little trinkets (thanks for your help with the project!) to someone in another department.

I feel bad that the person has such bad handwriting that I can’t figure it out. I want to say thanks, properly. I even got a notecard to fill out and send back, but to whom?


Sarah Jane May 10, 2012 at 11:05 pm

This happened to me once.

If it’s allowed, send out a SHORT email to all the employees on the company contact list (maybe one dept at a time) saying you’d like to thank the person who gave you the chocolates, but you don’t know who sent them. You don’t have to say you couldn’t read the name…let most people assume there wasn’t a note.

Then if you get a response from..let’s say “Marty”, for example…you can reply back with something like, “Oh, I’m glad you let me know; I couldn’t tell if the card read ‘Marty’ or ‘Mary’…then send the appropriate note.


Enna May 11, 2012 at 10:34 am

I love admin’s idea.


ellen May 15, 2012 at 7:15 pm

I don’t know if you did this already, but I think my first step would have been a Facebook search of the sender and a registry search of your and fiance’s names and common misspellings. That probably would have answered the question pretty quick


Emily May 31, 2012 at 6:43 pm

This happened to me once with a Fossil watch. The address on the box didn’t actually exist in my college town, so the Post Office scratched out the printed address and wrote my own address, I guess because my name matched? I called Fossil to tell them the mistake and they insisted that it must be a gift, that they were not allowed to tell me who sent it. I protested but was told to just be quiet and accept the gift!

Years later and no one has ever admitted to sending me a watch. I hope the person who was supposed to receive it finally got a replacement…


Tamryn August 13, 2012 at 3:52 am

This happened to me, although I actually received an extra set of my good silverware. My last name is very common. I called the store, they refused to contact the purchaser. A note had been attached saying the folks were sorry to miss the wedding. I found their phone number and called, leaving a message. Eventually I sent a thank you note and left it at that.

I suspect that some bride with a similar last name was disappointed not to receive a gift, but at least the giver was thanked nicely!


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