Monday, December 18, 2006

And Our Survey Says...

I saw this teaser line on some news site: "Are gift cards cheating?"

I think not. I think most DEFINITELY not.

Case in point...

I know my sister-in-law shops at a certain store all the time. In fact, I'd bet that a good majority of her paycheck is earmarked for this store... not judging, it's just a fact. So, when it came time this year to buy one of her Christmas presents, I knew exactly what I was going to get her. A gift card from that store. She'll LOVE it. *

Because of the type of store it is, I would never think about going to buy her something there. First of all, it's not my bag, baby, so I wouldn't have the first clue. Secondly, even if it was my bag, I still wouldn't be entirely sure of what she needs. Therefore, the gift card rules.

That's one case where gift cards are a thing of true beauty.

Another is -- and this is not going to be grammatically correct, but I just don't care-- those people who are hard to buy for.

You know who they are. You think, and you think, and you think... until you are all thunk out. It's not that they are strange, obtuse little creatures with bizarro tastes... they're just hard to buy for. They're not even difficult to please... they're just hard to buy for! Either you pick something out for them and they already have it, or their tastes are so extremely opposite of yours that you risk making a very bad purchase. I know, I know... it's the thought that counts, right? So... why not make that thought a gift card?

Some people don't like to give gift cards, because then the gift card recipient "knows exactly how much you spent." So what. If you're worried about that, tack another five bucks onto the thing and be done with it. ;-) I am typically a bargain shopper, and I can find great buys on presents that should cost me a fortune but really don't. When that's the case, I'll buy the gift. If not, Uncle So-and-So is going to know that I only spend about $40 on him for Christmas.

The other advantage to gift cards: the clothes always fit. No returns, because you get the sizes you need! You know the relative that always wants to buy you clothes for Christmas? (Personally, I love this relative and wish he/she would move in and buy me clothes every day) This wonderful, thoughtful person who might even have really good "clothes taste" and might buy you exactly what you wanted? Yeah, that person really has no idea what size you wear. And if you're unfortunate enough to be a woman, that person might know your size at one store, but not at that store. Or that store. Or even that other store. (Okay, so that's a topic for another post someday.)

But I digress...

What I want to know is what you think about gift cards. As you can tell, I actually quite prefer them in some cases. Some people may think them impersonal, but I tend to believe that sometimes MORE thought goes into the gift card than most people think. That's my story anyway, and I'm sticking to it.

*Yeah, so I'm 99.9% sure she doesn't read the blog... otherwise, she's TOTALLY gonna know what I got her for Christmas. :-) **

**Ummm... like... yeah... I gotta stop hanging out with my kids, because I'm even blogspeaking like them. Gah!


Anonymous said...

I am a fan of gift cards. H and I both love to receive them.

maliavale said...

I agree. I don't think you can go wrong!

Anonymous said...

Giving GC's, not my thing. I'm pretty good at well thought out gifts. Receiving GC's...much better option, because I am muy picky and have a hard time feigning appreciation. But if you are going to give them...try to do something fun with the packaging like this:

Anonymous said...

One gift card stands above the rest, gift cards to gorcery stores.

There's nothing like eating till you can't eat any more, then having someone hand you food for future eating.

Granted this doesn't always work - but I like em :)

Libragirl said...

I agree. Totally not cheating. My brother and sister in law won't get gift cards. They will spend hours looking for crap at a store they know you like therefore, forcing you to get back to the store in a certain amount of time to stand in a long line to return it for store credit and then look around to find something and then stand in another long line to buy it.

Example - my birthday they got me 3 cd's
birthday songs in spanish
holiday songs in french
corey hart
So instead of getting a gift card, I have to do double the work to get stuff I wanted.

Anonymous said...

While I think gift cards are better than gifts people can't use, I think gift cards prove we all have too much and we should all stop giving gift cards and give the money to charities instead, rather than just exchanging money which is what I think we are doing by giving gift cards.

Anonymous said...

It depends on the person doing the giving. If they suck at picking gifts but know I love, say, Yankee Candle or Borders, then I'd be quite happy getting a GC. And I have no qualms in giving one, if I know that's what the person wants.

Anonymous said...

I like gift cards MUCHO! I'm pretty picky about what I put out in my house, clothes are hard to fit and I hate getting lotions and bath stuff because to me, that says "I don't have any idea what you like so here's some smelly stuff 'cause girls like smelly stuff, right?" Besides, my MIL shops for me at the dollar store and everything goes in the goodwill bag the next morning. haha. no, really.

I have a harder time giving them because sometimes I'm really poor so I don't want people to know how much I spent. I'd rather search for a cheap present that looks more expensive.

Wow, I sound ungrateful.

lizgwiz said...

I think gift cards have their place. Great little stocking stuffers, or for an employer to give employees, or for that impossible to buy for person. I do have a problem with what's been happening in my family recently, though, which is the wholesale exchange of gift cards. To me, it doesn't make any sense for EVERYONE to give EVERYONE ELSE gift cards. I mean, it gets silly. If nobody is actually going to buy gifts, then let's just exchange cash, which is good anywhere, or (and my brother and I did this last year) each go out and buy ourselves something and say that's our Christmas present (actually, I ended up giving a bigger than usual amount to a great charity instead of buying myself something, and that was the most holiday-like thing of all). Otherwise it's just "Here is the money I went to the store and purchased for you." "Why, thank you, and here is the money I went to the store and purchased for you." Seems silly to me.

zia said...

I think in some cases, like your sister-in-law, gift cards are a great idea. But I have to confess that I'm a bit of a Christmas grump anyway ... I've been trying to get away from gifts at ALL for years. My feeling is that it's all about buying-buying-buying, and ultimately gift cards are no exception. Still, if the person is hard to shop for, and you MUST get presents, they're not a bad idea.

nabbalicious said...

I LOVE getting gift cards, but don't like giving them except in certain circumstances -- such as for family gift drawings. We've started including significant others, and hell if I know what to get my aunt's boyfriend's son's girlfriend (yes, that's really who I got this year). She got a gift card to Barnes & Noble, and if she doesn't like books, tough titties.

But really, I think gift cards enable people to prolong the joy of Christmas by opening their presents, THEN going out and doing more shopping, guilt-free!

Anonymous said...

Gift cards are NOT cheating; I loooove it when I get them. I tend not to give them, though, but that's only because I get obsessed with finding the PERFECT present for whomever it is that I'm buying the gift.

Stinkypaw said...

I got a bunch of gift cards for my 40th and I loved it! I even got one for a sushi place! I got one gift (a Chinese tea set) and I actually went to exchange it yesterday. It was beautiful, but I knew I wouldn't use it, so... A gift card would have been so much better!

We have a gift exchange with Hubby's relative on his mother's side and the cousin I picked has VERY different taste than me, so I got her a gift card from a store I know she likes and snuck it in a nice box of Godiva chocolate... so she'll think she's getting a box of chocolate and when she'll go for one she'll see the card! I always wrap my gifts in "wrong" boxes - I love to mislead people at Christmas! Last year I did that for a friend, who actually open the box 3 to 4 months after, she was "saving" them, so imagine her surprise when she opened the box and saw a cute little glass penguin!

Gift cards, good! ;-)

Ludicrousity said...

I must say that I hate gift cards, although we usually call them vouchers here. I think it's an eay way out, so that you don't have to think of what they would actually want. I know that's not always the case, but to me it says, "I couldn't be bothered thinking about you, so here, shop for yourself". I like to do something more personal for people when I buy them presents. I want them to know that I thought about them.

lil922 said...

I agree with Lizgwiz, except for the very hard to buy for. My husband's family does a grab bag - and so I went and bought 5 gifts cards for the various people - all the time thinking, why??? I give you a $25 gift crd, you give me one back - ???

Off the topic - I love your name - don't call me ma'am. I'm a lifelong Pittsburgher, but my husband was transferred to NC 2 years ago. One of my kids got in trouble at school for not saying ma'am - (as in yes ma'am or no ma'am) He tried to explain that if he had called one of his teacher's ma'am in PGH, they would have been angry for implying she was old. I very much remember the first time I was called ma'am by the grocery checkout boy, it was like finding my first gray hair!