Why algorithms shouldn’t pick presents...

Christmas Robot from Tinker and Fix - choosing conversation over computer algorithms for buying the perfect Christmas gift

In the search for ‘Stocking Filler’ ideas for Christmas, our (organised and therefore shopping for Christmas VERY early) friend was surprised at the choice from Amazon. The two options the algorithm gave her were – a pack of surgical facemasks and a sloth cuddly toy.  Obviously, these ridiculous present options were posted on our WhatsApp group chat quicker than a sloth could raise its eyebrow.

Algorithms organise our lives – they show us what content we see in our searches and our social feeds.  You type in who you are buying the present for – you know, ‘for men’, ‘for women’ (really – do people still do that?!), or you type in their hobby like, ‘for gardeners’ or ‘for people who like ‘DIY’.  Then the hamsters wizz away in the background (that’s how it works, right?) to give you some options based on what people you’ve never met before have bought in the past, or for products who have paid for time in front of your eyeballs.  

But we reckon that gift buying shouldn’t just be down to what the algorithms on big shopping sites like Amazon and Not on the High Street want to show you – that picking the perfect gift is about more than key words and product rankings.  We miss shows – where we perform our own version of an algorithm – we like to call it conversation – but we’re perhaps old fashioned like that.  We’d chat about what the recipient is ‘in to’, their hobbies, what they already have and what they might appreciate.  We won’t always have the right gift, but the chat is good and who knows, we might even be able to point you in the direction of something else (not sloths or face masks though). So – if you fancy a gift chat rather than an unsatisfactory algorithm-dominated online search - just drop us an email and we’ll arrange it.

- And if you are wondering - this is our Christmas Robot - we've been hiding it around the house for years (think of it as a far less time consuming version of elf on the shelf - one that's done for us to enjoy, rather than to prove our parenting prowess on Facebook). Never (usually) discussed - just hidden, found, re-hidden. Never (usually) photographed. Just a Tinker and Fix family tradition. 

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