karma

reviews

One of my favorite things to do is give gifts to the people I love for absolutely no reason. Where this becomes slightly tricky is that most of the people I love enough to send random presents to don’t live in my immediate vicinity. Random gifting requires significantly more effort. Spying the perfect present while out and about, going to the post office, waiting in line, charming the post officers into being nice to me, then waiting until they receive it. Patience is not my strongest virtue, so I get fed up with the process. Online shopping has alleviated this pain point somewhat, but have you ever tried to narrow down a gift for, say, a gardener in your life by doing a Google search? Complicated!

Enter Karma.

Somehow I neglected to notice Karma when it launched in March, which is really unfortunate because this app is delightful. I could have been using it this whole time! Beautiful interface and easily navigated, it makes gift giving a breeze. Gifting on the go, if you will. The product selection is extensive and includes fun genres like Quirky and Trendsetter. You can gift someone baby items, “romantic” gifts like chocolates (not my definition of romantic as I’m not a fan, but that’s cool), Uber rides, LED dinosaurs (gifted!), Kate Spade NY trinkets and a book on fashion illustration. (Hint, hint to anyone who might use this app to send me things.)

Part of what makes the Karma gifting process so simple is that you aren’t required to enter shipping addresses; when the recipient accepts the gift, they choose the shipping destination themselves. This will be helpful for conversations with my mother which invariably go like this: “So should I ship this to your apartment?” “No, Mother, I can’t get packages there. My work address is best.” [Hi, Mother! Love you!] As the recipient goes through the gift acknowledgment process, Karma notifies the giver. No more wondering if USPS delivered anything for me! Also, the recipient can send a thank you through the app. For those of you who know me, thank you notes are of utmost importance in my life. Major Leslie points for offering that feature, Karma creators.

Another (pretty dangerous for me) feature that makes Karma so easy to use is that you don’t have to pay right away. You have the option, but the app allows you to submit payment after the recipient confirms the gift. It is practically like giving gifts for free! Until you have to settle up. I can see me getting carried away because of this feature.

Gift recipients have the option to accept the original gift, swap it for something else or even donate the value of the gift to charity. Not that anyone I give presents to would do that, right? Right?! I mean, I guess I can’t argue with donating to charity, can I?

One aspect I don’t really like is that in order to invite others to use Karma, the app sends them a text message. I really want to spread the word to my friends and family because I think that this app has huge potential to grow, but I don’t want to spam them with texts. If that can evolve, I would be more inclined to invite people.

The only question remains: Who is going to give me a random present through Karma? I love surprises!

UPDATE: After playing with Karma for pretty much most of the day yesterday, I have a few more points of feedback. It would be incredibly handy, and a natural fit for the app’s intent, if you could bookmark gifts you want to give in the future. Also, the emails that alert someone that they have a gift look suspiciously like spam to the uninitiated, which led to frantic emails from the recipients about the nature of what was sent to them. That’s kind of a buzzkill for the giver: “Click, I swear it won’t compromise your computer. It is a present. You’re going to love it!”

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