Thoughts & Ideas

Defending the gift card – Your opinion is not better than mine.

28 November, 2008 (19:15) | Thoughts & Ideas

If there’s one thing that I hate most, it’s when people tell me things have to be a certain way, "just because."  This post is not directed at any 1 person, but at 1 particular thought.  When someone says that gift cards are cheating or call me lazy for giving gift cards, what they are not realizing is that their own actions are offensive to me.  I’ll try to keep my defense of the gift card in a bulleted list.

  • What if I really want to give you a gift card?  A spa treatment, a favorite restaurant, a specialty store, wherever.  Are you going to say that my gift is not good enough?  I didn’t just reach my hand in a bag and pull out a gift card to toys r’ us, I put thought into where I thought you’d want to spend money.  How dare you call me unthoughtful.
  • Maybe I can’t afford what I really want to get you, but I want to contribute.  Maybe when I give it to you, I’ll say, "maybe it’ll help you get that new flatscreen TV you want."  Or maybe, if enough people give you gift cards, there will be enough to get you that flatscreen you wanted, free of charge.
  • Maybe I want you to have freedom.  We’ve all received gifts we didn’t want.  Maybe I know you’re a tightwad and you won’t spend you own money on something you like, so here, go on a shopping spree on me.  Sometimes I feel like I’m imposing my thoughts of the person on them when I buy them a gift.  I don’t want to be a control freak, I want you to enjoy something.
  • It’s convenient.  I’m not going to lie, that’s a major appeal to gift cards.  You know where they are, where you want to go, how much you want to spend, and you’re in and out of where ever it is, avoiding all the crazy shoppers.  Gift cards are easily shipped if you need to get something online so that opens up options tremendously.  It’s also easy to travel with gift cards for 20 people than it is with 20 wrapped gifts.

And to debunk the nay-sayers:

  • Gift cards are impersonal – well, personalize your gift cards then.
  • Gift cards are not thoughtful enough – A valid concern and risk.  Let’s look at ourselves before we accuse others though.  Is there a way you can make it easier for someone to get you a gift?  Maybe drop them hints.  Sometimes, they don’t know you enough to get you something, and sometimes, you’re too rigid for them to risk getting you something that you might not like…like a gift card.
  • It’s cheating – Really?  Since when did giving and receiving gifts become a competition?  Maybe you should be glad that the person stuck it to the man and didn’t spend have to spend a dime on you because their credit card points paid for your $100 gift card.  Sure, they could have used it themselves, but they chose to give it to you.  Ungrateful.  In these tough economic times, maybe a little cheating by buying gift certificates at grocery stores like Giant Eagle for all sorts of places is in order since it gives the buyer credit card rewards as well as gas points.  That’s a smart shopper if you ask me.
  • It’s such a waste since gift cards often go unusedTrue Story.  Whose fault is that though?  Maybe the receiver was too lazy or caught up in their own arrogance and distaste for gift cards that they didn’t use it.  If I give a gift card to someone, I ask them later on how they spent it, to make sure they did enjoy it, and also next year, maybe i’ll have an idea of something to give them.

The neutralizers, or reasons I can understand:

  • It’s not pretty.  You’re right.  You can dress it up and go over the top if you really want to though.  Wrapping paper is such a waste though.  Not only does all that cost ridiculous amounts of money for all the fixings, but you just tear it up and throw it away.  Let’s stop the waste before we even get to recycling by reducing our output.  There’s just something sentimental about unwrapping a nice present though.
  • It can be last minute.  It doesn’t have to be though.  I don’t think gift cards should be someone’s bread and butter every christmas and for everyone.  But the generalized statement shouldn’t ruin the good that can come from gift cards.
  • Gift cards are mass produced.  Definitely something to consider.  I’m all for supporting local businesses and small shops and artists when possible.  You walk a thin line to consumer whoring, but with a little tact, you should be fine.

I’m a little frustrated with group think, I think you can tell.  When email first came around, do you think people said, "oh my, don’t email me, write me a letter, that’s how it should be done."  You bet your arse they did.  Does that mean they were wrong?  No, but it doesn’t mean it was right either.  People have opinions, and people have feelings.  Sometimes the two collide.  You can either learn to love people for their difference of opinions, or try and change them.  How about you work on the gift of understanding, K?

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  • mommajanjan

    Gift cards aren’t impersonal, people are. Or can be. You are a pretty thoughtful guy, as evidenced by this blog post, so try not to let the turkeys get you down Josh. I have really enjoyed some gift cards I received, for all the reasons you mentioned. Rock on.

  • mommajanjan

    Gift cards aren’t impersonal, people are. Or can be. You are a pretty thoughtful guy, as evidenced by this blog post, so try not to let the turkeys get you down Josh. I have really enjoyed some gift cards I received, for all the reasons you mentioned. Rock on.

  • Kallie

    Feel free to give me gift cards, or money, or your debit pin # 😀

  • Kallie

    Feel free to give me gift cards, or money, or your debit pin # 😀