By JCP July 2003

Have you ever made the mistake of telling a family member that you like something? Maybe you said, "I like penguins." For the rest of your life, you become the 'penguin' person, and you get all sorts of 'penguin' presents from everyone you know. Penguin mugs, penguin mirrors, penguin pictures, penguin magnets, penguin sweaters, penguin notepaper, penguin pattern stuffed pillows, penguin garden figures, penguin tshirts, penguin ornaments, penguin stickers, penguin posters, penguin candle holders, penguin paintings, penguin figurines, penguin wrapping paper, penguin signs with stupid sayings on them and every other thing with a penguin slapped on it. Instead of families figuring out what you would REALLY like, they take the easy way out and just keep buying more damned penguin things.

This can be a damaging thing to have happen to you. Things like birthdays and xmas become a stressful time. Each time you open a gift and see the damned penguin staring back at you; forcing a smile while you scream inside. It's been years since you've uttered that fateful line "I like penguins." To admit you don't like them now means everyone around you will be all offended you didn't tell them sooner. Also, they will be upset that they now have to put some thought into their gift for you, and that will require them thinking a little bit more about how they don't know much about you at all.

This sort of thing happens every day.

Types Of Forced Collecting & How To End It
Intentional Forced Collecting - Someone buys the person each item in the collection, knowing that the person doesn't like them and continuing to buy them. The person forcing the collecting will continue to do so until forcefully told to discontinue the collecting. The collection must be returned to them and/or destroyed in front of them to make them understand that the collecting must stop.

Deferred Forced Collecting - Someone who buys the collectibles for another person when it is them who in fact like the items. Instead of collecting the items themselves, they inflict it on someone else. This allows them to buy more without feeling guilty about collecting for themselves. The best way to deal with this is to sit the person down and discuss it with them. Get them to admit to themselves that they have a problem. Return the collection to them and/or destroy it in front of them to make them understand that the collecting must stop.

Grown Forced Collecting - The victim initially did enjoy the collecting, but has since grown out of it and no longer likes it. Many times the victim feels that they can't say anything for fear of reprisal from their family or friends. At the next big occasion where you are to receive gifts, send everyone a note with alternate suggestions to whatever it is they collect for you. If you still get collection presents, then do NOT smile and say thanks unless it's someone who would either make you feel horrible about it or beat the shit out of you for it. Discourage the collecting at each occasion. Invite everyone over and make sure that NONE of the collection is seen. This will further encourage the idea that you are NOT collecting. Give the collection to charity.

Stopping The Collection - Real Life Examples
Ver - JCPs mother has forced a troll collection upon him. She's bought him a number of them now, all different sizes and colors. He has about 20 of them now. JCPs mom has admitted that she likes the trolls, and is ready to accept that she has deferred her like of trolls onto Ver.
JCPs mom- Pigs. She liked them a long time ago, but after years of nothing but pig gifts, she's not that enthralled with them anymore. She still gets pig gifts every once in awhile from those who don't know her well, but other then that, her friends and family has learnt she no longer likes pigs. Since she was deferring a collection onto Ver, she was scared to admit that she liked trolls. She was afraid to tell others of her new collection in fear that those around her would begin to buy her nothing but trolls, as they had done with the pigs.
How JCP broke the troll collecting - She gathered up all the trolls, tore the head off one and kicked the rest down a flight of stairs. Her mom has agreed to never buy another troll for Ver again, and has taken responsibility for her own collecting. The surviving trolls are in her mom's office, but still get kicked down the stairs from time to time.

Real Collectors - How To Tell
There are those that really do collect certain things, and are happy with others buying them items to put in their collection. Here are some question to ask yourself when buying someone an item for their 'collection':
Do they ask for the collectable item?
Do they buy the items for themselves?
Is their collection proudly on display in their home?
Do they tell you what new stuff they've gotten for their collection when you see them?

The best way to avoid forced collecting is to ASK people what they would like, or to take note of things they've said to you that would indicate something other then the collectable item. Give thought to their gift, or just give them money.