"Gift Cards Not Such Great Gifts"

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by RAC, Dec 4, 2003.

  1. RAC

    RAC Guest

    This story from Bankrate (on the Dollar Stretcher) has just about convinced me to go back to sending a check, or just giving cash to people in person for presents again (to save on shipping costs).

    http://www.bankrate.com/dls/news/cc/20031126a1.asp

    Gift cards used to be a nice way to sort of "make sure" that someone bought something nice for themselves that they would like but not any more. Also, I think that they are yet another sneaky way, especially for companies marketing the credit card/debit gift cards, to get more people on their mailing lists.

    So from now on, if you give someone money, and they tell you they used it to pay bills with, be happy you could help with that! :)
     
  2. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Yesterday I heard something in passing on TV to where a couple of billion dollars in gift cards are not redeemed each year. That represents about a 99.99% pure profit for those who issued them.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     

  3. sweetbabyjane

    sweetbabyjane Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Not to mention that they charge a handling fee (?!!) on any balance left after a certain number of months. I think the last one I saw was 15 months. So all those unredeemed cards get slowly eaten away until nothing is left. What a scam.

    Read the fine print at the bottom,
    SBJ
     
  4. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I never saw how gift certificates/ gift cards benefitted anybody except the merchant. Its not like its a well thought out gift taylored to that person and if you want to give somebody money, why lock them into spending it at a certain place.

    Thankfully I dont know anybody that I feel need to exchange gifts with. This Xmas/birthday/mothersday/fathersday/valentines day/etc. social gift giving expectation is just to benefit merchants. A small surprise gift to a child once a year on their birthday is kinda fun. When it involves adults and extended wish lists for big gifts for multiple holidays, it is just perverted. Only helps merchants and sends children the wrong message about life and relationships.
     
  5. birdie_poo

    birdie_poo Well-Known Member

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    I guess I'm on the other side of the fence with this one. We actually preferr gift cards because it allows our children to get what they want. They are always appreciated around here.

    I do not care for the ones that depreciate in value if not used right away, but we just don't buy those ones any more. There is more than one way to skin a cat.

    Also, most Malls have a gift card that can be used in any store within that Mall, and most are owned by nationwide corporations, so they can be used anywhere.

    It saves us the hassell of wrapping, shipping, and all the things in between. They also take a little more time than writing out a check, which seems a little impersonal because you can do that from home. Buying gift cards implies you actually had to get off the couch to go get it, and took the time to do it.

    Just my opinion...from a gift cert/card fan.
     
  6. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    I've used them in the past for gift giving and for business purposes. I used them rather than cash for family, becuase I use local businesses whenever possible, and I hate to see my kids trundle off to Wal mart or Kmart in the city, rather than support our business neighbors. I haven't seen either of those mega-giant corportations ever buy a 4H hog or steer, so I'd rather direct my kids to the local bookstore or sports store, both of whom donate their time and money to local goings on.
     
  7. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :rolleyes: Forget the silly "Gift Card" with all it's complications and just go to the store of your choice and get a "Gift Certificate". How easy is that? I use these a lot for family members who quilt, are into woodworking, raise stock(the feedstores and saddle shops have them too) or have other special hobbies and I get them from the stores here in our area that carry just what those people would love to have. Just because technology has paved the way for this stuff, doesn't mean you have to buy into it! LQ
     
  8. RAC

    RAC Guest

    Little Quacker, that's just it, the gift "certificates" of old have now largely been replaced by the cards with a magnetic strip on the back, or these new prepaid credit cards.

    I like gift certificates/cards if there is no s/h charge when you order one online or over the phone. Also ones with no expiration--supposedly California has passed a law prohibiting cards with expiration dates--I wish every other state would too.

    When I can make a specialty gift (like homemade lemon cheese (curd)) better than what I can buy, I will. But if I am going to buy something from some store, if the same store is in someone's hometown, what's the point? A gift cert/card makes more sense, and is less hassle all around for everyone.

    A gift cert/card to a grocery store probably doesn't collect any dust, though :)

    Although another idea would be to send a card saying "I am spending $$ on myself from you as a Christmas present. Please do the same for yourself, on me, and let me know what you bought with it! ;-)
     
  9. birdie_poo

    birdie_poo Well-Known Member

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    Oh what a yummy yummy gift that would be!!!
     
  10. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) I guess I am just used to our little town. Haven't run into that uppity Gift Card yet! LOL When I do I'll kick it out! LOL LQ
     
  11. Shygal

    Shygal Unreality star Supporter

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    I don't see the huge problem with them charging after 15 months or so....Who would let a gift card sit around for nearly a year and a half before using it anyway? :confused:

    When I get one, I cant wait to go and use it :)
     
  12. Grandmotherbear

    Grandmotherbear Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My husband let his Home Depot certificate (predated cards) sit around for 7 years before he used it! :haha: This is a guy who's in Home Depot at least every 10 daysspending money !! I give my children and my mom gasoline cards from Shell and long distance phone cards. It gives them a nice break from cheapie gas and since they aren't selfdiscliplined enough NOT to call long distance, it helps with their bufget.
     
  13. RAC

    RAC Guest

    Shygal,

    It is easy to let a gift card sit around if it is for a store that is not your favorite, or for when you don't quite know what you want to buy, but you know you don't want to waste it on little things.

    I won a gift cert for a month's membership at Curves for Women in a raffle recently. Unfortunately it is not good at any other Curves, only the local one in our area, otherwise I'd have mailed it off to an out-of-state friend or relative by now, since I'm not wild about their particular system and won't use it (part of the reason being that they are franchises, so you can be a member of one and not necessarily be able to transfer the membership if you move, that sort of thing). Luckily I have about a year to get rid of it somehow.
     
  14. Mark in N.C. Florida

    Mark in N.C. Florida Member

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    I work for a Used Car Wholesaler and I go thru every car we buy scrouging for change, lately I have noticed quite a few Gift Cards and I save them and call the 800 number on the back and check to see if there is any thing left on the balance, many have been eaten up by service charges but I do find a few with some left on the balance, I have found them with as much as $8.00 left.

    I once found a $50.00 Gift Certificate to the "Outback Steakhouse" in a car we bought, the Certificate had only few days left on it before it expired, so I took a date and went and used it, I told my date how I had aquired the Gift Certificate and she was quite impressed! My Boss laughed when I told him I had told my Date the story of finding the Certificate, he said I should have said nothing, But I wanted to see her reaction to see if she was someone I might want to date again.