Even though it was over 2 years ago, we still have a pile of gift cards sitting here in my desk drawer with various amounts still left on them. Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, Cost Plus – we have some money to spend at a whole bunch of different stores. The problem is that we don’t need or want anything, so we have nothing to spend them on. And they are not worth enough to sell the cards themselves on Ebay, so we just hold on to them, waiting until we want something from one of these stores. And this is partly the reason why I like gift cards even though there are some bloggers who think they are a bad idea. But I agree with LazyMan on this one – I think they are a good idea, especially for the recipient. Here’s why…
– People gave us gift cards for our wedding because they wanted us to actually get something, not just deposit the cash in our bank account and use it for paying bills or whatever. So this way we are forced to buy ourselves something, even if it is a few years down the road. I think it’s a good idea for that reason alone. Cash has a tendency to disappear when people just put it in the bank.
– In California, gift cards never expire. Nor do they have fees of any kind unless they are Visa cards and the like.
– As much as they are kind of impersonal, they are more personal than just handing someone a check. If your grandma knows you like to shop at The Gap but doesn’t know what you would wear, giving her the ability to buy a gift card from there is more personal than her sending you money, right?
I know that there are varying opinions on whether gift cards are a good or a bad thing, but in my mind, both giving and receiving them is a good thing. You can look at it as giving a company an interest free loan, but I don’t see it that way – I see it as giving a gift to someone from a store they may like, but letting them pick out exactly what they want. And as for receiving, as I said earlier – these gift cards are right here waiting for me to have an “ah-ha” moment of needing or wanting something…and then I have the money for it!