Monday, December 19, 2005

more yule blog cheer

You do understand that a gift card is basically an interest-free loan to whatever company issues the gift card, right? I am amazed that there are companies that start deducting value from a gift card if it goes unused for such-and-such a time, when the longer gift cards go unused, the more money the company makes. You also understand that the key nonsymbolic difference between a gift card and just giving somebody cash is that by giving somebody a gift card you force the recipient to spend the money where you want them to spend it, as opposed to where they might otherwise prefer to spend it? Not that I haven't given gift cards as gifts, and not that I haven't been touched by gift cards I've received from others. I'm just, you know, saying.


Anonymous said...

Can't you sell gift cards to stores you don't like for cash on e-bay, thus getting out of being forced to shop where you don't want to?

john said...

I've thought of all this before.

I was even more horrified when I found a store charging more than the amount on the giftcard.

Anonymous said...

Man, you've got more Christmas on your mind in a loop-de-loop sort of way. Gift cards? Forget about 'em. Think about where to spend time next Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Gwen said...

I bought a gift card for my sister because I know that if I give her cash, she'll end up spending it on something for her and my brother-in-law together, or around the house, rather than on anything fun, because she's one of those types of moms who doesn't believe she deserves to get to spend money on her. So the only way I can force her to spend money on something fun for her is to get her a gift card to someplace I know she loves and that doesn't sell anything practical. This year it's candle-making stuff.

I buy my dad and stepmom gift certificates to restaurants for the same reason--it's the only way they'll take a night to themselves, refuse to babysit, and go out and eat.

So while I totally get what you're saying, there are situations in which gift certificates are superior to cash.

Anonymous said...

I understand the use of gift cards. I hand out gift cards to all the street urchins that approach me. That way I'm somewhat confident they must work harder to get cash for these "gift cards" or just go without the booze certain to capture my donation.