Gift cards are a pain, an expense and an irritation, yet we still get them and others seem to love giving them. I hate gift cards! The only reason I would ever give a gift card is if I am re-gifting one I received or if I want to teach someone else a money lesson (such as why stores LOVE to sell gift cards).
Giving a gift card forces your recipient to do something you want them to do. Everyone knows they are redeemable for goods or services, yet in order to do so, the recipient has to shop for the goods or services specified or at the store specified. When I get a gift card, I feel like someone is trying to tell me what to do!
Maybe it makes the giver feel like they have actually given your gift a lot of thought and have gotten something for you that is just perfect!. However, a gift card is not a substitute for a thoughtful gift, no matter how well you think you know the person you are gifting! Give cash instead and be honest about the fact that you really have no clue what the person wants or needs!
Also, gift cards can cost more than the amount on the card due to overhead (fees, shipping and handling and etc) and the gift card balance can be affected by monthly fees if the card is held too long (or it can even expire).
People seem to think my spouse and I should go out more, or shop more. We get cards for restaurants we never frequent, for stores that are miles and miles from us and for things we never do.
Hubby is far too polite to ever say anything, or to sell or exchange the card. He just doesn’t use them when he gets one!
How to avoid receiving gift cards next holiday season.
Here are my tongue in cheek suggestions on avoiding gift cards!
Tell everyone you know that you hate receiving gift cards. Go ahead and rant on about how the seller of the gift card is getting money for nothing – as 10 – 15 percent of the money on cards is never redeemed. Show off at every opportunity, the unwanted, dusty unused gift cards you have collected. Bemoan the fact that you have 10 cards each with a balance of 1.98 which you will never collect.
If someone persists in giving you gift cards, get one for them – for a place they will NEVER go or for something they will NEVER buy.
Proudly announce that you gave away all your gift cards to the homeless guy on the corner (or other favorite charity).
Brag about how you got 90% of the cards value in cash back from an online card buying site.
How to use gift cards you didn’t want.
Save them until next year and give them back to the person who gave them to you. They must love to go to the store they are for – right? Better yet, buy something with the card for the giver and send it along for their next gift!
Buy something you might get anyway – like underwear, or toilet paper – if you can.
Give them to your kids as allowance. You might score a double lesson here – the allowance lesson and the lesson about not giving gift cards (what 10 year old kid wants a card to Olive Garden? What are they going to do, buy Mom lunch!).
Sell them on eBay or Card Pool or Plastic Jungle if you trust those sites and want to take the time. Personally, I have neither the trust nor the time!
Have a gift card exchange party at work (kind of like a cookie exchange). This might work for you, but I’m retired – no office, no co-workers!
Put them in the offering basket at church instead of your usual offering. Easy, smeezy solution – you feel good about giving and the card becomes someone elses problem and you save the $10 bucks (or whatever you give per week) for something else.
Kidding (sort of).
Readers, I hope you realize that I am being a bit tongue in cheekish here. I really do appreciate receiving a gift, but mainly because it means someone was thinking of me. But lets face it, some gifts are just more trouble than others! Once in a while however, someone does find a card I will actually use (Amazon is one of them) – so thanks to all my family members who gave gift cards this year (ahem)!
Do you like gift cards? If not, what do you do with them?