Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What I Think About--Gift Cards

Ever get a gift card and feel thrilled with it and the possibilities it held?

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:

  1.  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!)
  2. You don't know the person very well (distant relative, secretary, teacher).
  3. You honestly can't think of a good gift idea (finally an acceptable cop-out!).
  4. 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:

  1. 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).
  2. 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?

3 comments:

  1. I think gift cards can be done right. A few years ago, my brother gave my husband and me an envelope labeled, "date night out" for Christmas. Inside the envelope was a gift card to a restaurant, a fandango gift card for a movie and cash for a babysitter along with a very nice personal note. It was a thoughtful gift.

    Just as long as you put thought into gift cards, I think they can be great gifts.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Couldn't agree more: necessary evil; use only when necessary.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Plastic gift cards are available from past years, and now have become very popular in almost all places such as restaurants, shopping stores, saloons, theaters and much more.

    ReplyDelete

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