What To Do With Your Unwanted Christmas Crap

It's Christmas morning. You're all excited as you pillage through layer upon layer of gilded paper and bows, and there it is! A 7-inch Acer Iconica Tab A100! Just what you've been not dying for! Uh. Thanks?

Look, someone spent good money on you, and it's the thought that counts. They just don't know any better. So, you don't have to be a jerk about it, or ungrateful. Say thank you, and act happy, and then here's how to deal with unwanted Christmas electronics.

Step One: DO NOT BREAK THE SEAL!

You may be tempted to go ahead and open that sucker up to check it out, probably to show your well-intentioned giver that you really, really do love this horrifying waste of cadmium and rare earth metals, but that's a mistake. As soon as you blow through any exterior packaging, you may have to pay a restocking fee, if you can even return it at all. And if you do end up having to re-sell it, the most valuable component you can find on the second-hand market is intact shrink-wrap.

Step Two: "This is so lovely and unusual, wherever did you find it?"

Obviously, your best bet is to send it back from whence it came. But where is that, exactly? And how do you ask in an inoffensive way. This is actually pretty easy. You just need to act dumb. "Why, I didn't even know LG made phones! And it runs something called Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional, you say? Never heard of it, but I bet it's just as great as Alexander himself! Where did you ever find such an unusual and wonderful gee-gaw? May I have that address? I think I would like to shop there myself sometime."

Step Three: Trade In

This is where things get tricky. Maybe you couldn't bring yourself to ask about returning it. Maybe it was past the return window. Maybe it was already repackaged. Whatever. If you can't return it, at least try to get some dough for it. Craigslist and eBay are okay, but you should make this easy on yourself. Amazon, Best Buy and Gazelle all have trade in programs that offer easy money (or store credit) for your gadget. If you'd prefer to one-stop shop, EcoSquid has a nice comprehensive search.

Step Four: Hack It, Huck It, Remake It

You know what's really fun to do with your old gadgets? Tear them apart. Okay, so maybe you don't want to use that point and shoot cam to take pictures because your cell phone has better resolution and a better lens and, hell, even a better digital zoom. Look, I've got two words for you: drone photography. Experimenting on your highly value gadgets is risky. So why not use something you're not really that crazy about to begin with to learn on, or if you already know what you're doing, to take on that project you've always wanted to try.

Step Five: Sweet Charity

Here's the thing, and I'm sorry to be captain earnest, but if you're in the position to look down your nose at any sort of electronics, you're probably better off than most people in this world. That new gadget you don't care for might come in really handy at a school or a shelter or a library. Goodwill takes all kinds of electronics, and your donations can help provide on the job training to boot.

Image: Shutterstock / Altafulla


User Manual is Gizmodo's guide to etiquette. It appears as if by magic on Fridays.