So you've been invited to a friend's wedding, engagement party or baby shower and want to be there, in person, for moral support. In the era of COVID-19, you are presented with a tough ethical and personal dilemma. If you go and mingle with others, you know you may unknowingly contribute to the spread of the coronavirus, either by already being a carrier or worse, by catching it there and then passing it onto someone vulnerable, like your grandfather or coworker with a chronic disease. On the other hand, if you choose not to go, you fear you'll be effectively severing all ties with the host. You also know pinning money or gifting gold is common practice, and you don’t want to come off like you don’t care, or on a more selfish note, you'd like the favor returned one day.
Unfortunately, in Turkey, almost every celebration and gift-giving ceremony have to happen in person and usually in more than one location (a double wedding in the groom's and the bride's hometowns, anyone?). On top of that, the fact that wedding registries have not yet caught on in Turkey and gold trumps all gifts as it proves a great investment in the long run, many still opt for a shiny gold coin or some gold jewelry to gift happy couples and newlyweds.
However, the depreciation of the Turkish lira and the subsequent skyrocketing of gold prices have left many guests in a tight squeeze. Though an increasing number of shops continue to introduce new payment methods to ease the strain on their customers' wallets and ease of payment, most traditional shops still favor cash.
With many not being able to afford to pay large sums upfront in cash and in one-go, attendees have sought creative ways to go about gift-giving. The most obvious choice has been to collect money in groups to afford a bigger gift and to designate a messenger to choose or pick up the gift and give it in person. However, amid a pandemic, not many people are willing to risk their lives.
As with all inventions, smart solutions are borne out of needs, and "Takı Kolay" caters to this one. The platform, the name of which could be translated as the easy gift of jewelry, is the brainchild of journalist and author Musab Turan and was brought to life by public relations manager and coder Özgür Sallancı.
The way this platform operates is as follows: First, the engaged couples create a free digital invitation of their event on the platform, detailing their venue, the date of their wedding, etc. They then can forward the link of the invitation to their guests that presents them with the option to contribute as much as they want. The couple can also create a QR code of the link to be printed on their save-the-date cards.
Offering the option of paying in one go or in installments via credit card, the platform also allows multiple users to pitch in for a more expensive gift.
If gold is too out of budget for guests or they want the couple to choose their own gift, they can also send gift vouchers to be redeemed at Hepsiburada, a popular Turkish e-commerce site that sells anything from clothes and cosmetics to furniture and home appliances.
The orders for gold coins or jewelry are forwarded to the Istanbul Gold Refinery, then collected and sent via insured delivery to an address designated by the couple. The system also requires the couple to upload a photo of their marriage license or birth certificate of their child to confirm their identity and the occasion.
Considering the mask-averseness of people and the appeal of using online, contactless payment methods for gifts, the platform seems promising.
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