Ever get a gift card and feel let down--like you weren't worth the effort to find an actual gift?
Welcome to my schizophrenic feelings toward gift cards.
Not so long ago on my facebook page I posted this: "ah, gift cards. I mean, what a nice way to say, "here's $15--go find your own darn present!"
You should have seen the response!
Half the people loved gift cards because:
A. They were teachers and met their quota of baked goods, apples, and teddy bears four years ago so that $5 Starbucks card was akin to liquid gold.
B. They usually buy stuff for others and gift cards force them to buy themselves something (I must learn this trick. I generally buy stuff for other people with my gift cards).
The other half hate gift cards because:
A. They are impersonal
B. It feels like you are swapping cash (One year at Christmas my husband and his older brother swapped $50 gift cards to Cabella's. That made sense, right?).
I think that gift cards are okay when used in certain circumstances:
- They've been asked for (I won't even get started on how greedy I feel it is to ask for cash or gift cards. I saw a Baby Blues cartoon today about a little girl throwing a shopping party. Her birthday guests would go shopping with her and buy exactly what she wanted--straight to the greed! Oops, I said I wouldn't get started and then did. My bad. Sorry!)
- You don't know the person very well (distant relative, secretary, teacher).
- You honestly can't think of a good gift idea (finally an acceptable cop-out!).
- The person is in a position where you remember cash coming in handy (wedding, graduation, just moved).
There are circumstances when I think you should avoid gift cards:
- When you are in an intimate or close relationship with someone (in this instance, knowing what that person would want or what size to buy says a lot about your relationship).
- When it is a super-special day (your 5 year old would rather open a $1 gift that looks big than a gift card if she's anything like my kid!).
What I think about gift cards is they are a necessary evil--use them only when necessary.
Your thoughts? Gift cards--yay or nay?