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Gift cards: love 'em or hate 'em?
Old 12-11-2007, 09:19 PM   #1
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Gift cards: love 'em or hate 'em?

Don't care for gift cards: to me it's like getting money that can only be used in certain stores and it's a hassle carrying around the card and remembering to use it. Why not just scrawl "Sports Locker!" or "Pizza Hut!" on a twenty and give that?

My sister, along with a group of other ladies, got a card good in any store in a large outlet mall and was not happy: the prior year she drew a card good only in one particular store in the mall and preferred that, as it was a surprise what store she would be getting her door prize from. I think that's just loopy. So what am i not getting? (other than gift cards, i hope) Do you all like giving and getting them?
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Old 12-11-2007, 09:30 PM   #2
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I like giving and getting them. I do use them right away so there is no chance of them expiring or me losing any money from them aging.
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Old 12-11-2007, 10:08 PM   #3
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I think you can even cash them in if you don't want to buy anything at the store.

I don't mind them. To me it shows a bit of thought, like, if I know someone is into camping and have no idea what gear they already have or what quality they want, I can just buy an REI giftcard and let them choose something they've wanted but maybe couldn't justify getting on the own.

I think it's best if it's related to a hobby (outdoors, golf, crafts, etc) or a favorite clothing store, or a nice restaurant or something like that. My mom doesn't like to cook so much anymore so last year the grandkids pitched in and got them a few different restaurant cards, all about a dinner for two value at places they like to eat. One year I got her tickets for two to her choice of shows in a series in town. That way I didn't have to guess which one she wanted to see and whether the date worked out.
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Old 12-11-2007, 10:43 PM   #4
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Hate em. One of several things happens when I receive a gift card:
  1. The card languishes, either forgotten or when found, has diminished value.
  2. I go to store and can't fin anything i really want. I buy something that I have to store, regift or dust.
  3. I go to store and end up spending more than the value of the card; marketing ploy succeeds as I would not have been in store unless I received card.
  4. Card is generally too small in value to be really useful (I know I'm sounding ungrateful here, but if you are going to wimp out by getting me a gift card - make it really big)
  5. Husband purloins any really useful gift card e.g. fuel, coffee, etc.
I like opening packages with paper and ribbons. It's fun to find the perfect gift that I didn't know I wanted or wouldn't have gotten for myself. I love surprises and am willing to risk the occasional dud for the thrill of a great gift.
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Old 12-11-2007, 11:07 PM   #5
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I think it's best if it's related to a hobby (outdoors, golf, crafts, etc) or a favorite clothing store, or a nice restaurant or something like that. My mom doesn't like to cook so much anymore so last year the grandkids pitched in and got them a few different restaurant cards, all about a dinner for two value at places they like to eat. One year I got her tickets for two to her choice of shows in a series in town. That way I didn't have to guess which one she wanted to see and whether the date worked out.
I've given gift certificates for fancy restaurants several times....sizable enough to cover dinner for 2 plus a couple before & after dinner drinks. The recipients were always quite happy to get them. (I've received them, and enjoyed them also!)

My Mom likes to go on trips (day & multi-day) with a couple of local tour/travel groups, so each year I give her a couple of travel certificates to cover some of her 'tripping'. I KNOW she appreciates those!!!

Other than stuff like that, I don't really care to much for gift cards for "stuff", like Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and places like that....either giving or receiving them. I'd rather people have a nice evening out, or a memorable trip, or something like that.....rather than a case of toilet paper, or a sheet of plywood.
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Old 12-12-2007, 03:45 AM   #6
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I have given them and received them. But I do not particularly care for them.

The reason is that stores often will not just cash out the remaining amount of money (if a few $ are left on it). Plus, the amount given is sometimes not enough to purchase something I want, so I need to supplement it. That is OK for for certain types of cards. But for others it is not.

For example: I received a gift card to an electronics store. I am not in the market for anything at this time that I would buy there. If I just try to hang on to it... it would either expire or they would charge a fee for every year it was not used (not sure about the rules on the store). I took the card and bought batteries (we will use for remote controls, etc). Had about $2 left on it.

The gesture of a gift card is nice... but they can be a hassle. If I receive one, I wold prefer it to be to a Mall or a Restaurant.
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Old 12-12-2007, 08:13 AM   #7
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My So's grandkids always get me gift cards to books a million and I really like them plus they usually pick out one perfect for a five year old .They usually have Hello Kitty or Dora the Explorer on them so it makes me smile every time I bring it out .
I only give gift cards to adults and usually to restaurants I know they like .
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Old 12-12-2007, 09:03 AM   #8
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Love getting them, hate giving them
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Old 12-12-2007, 09:04 AM   #9
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When I do gift cards, I always buy an inexpensive box of cheese, etc., so the recepient gets a wrapped gift with the gift card inside in a Christmas card on which I usually do some correspondence. I have a niece with a husband and 2 kids who isn't very well off. I always do a gift card to someplace like Walmart in hopes that some of the money trickles down to the kids, instead of cash being spent on booze, smokes, etc. Works for me.
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Old 12-12-2007, 09:19 AM   #10
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I sometimes buy them when I know the recipient is into some sport/hobby/whatever, and I wouldn't have a clue about what to get them. And I don't mind it if someone gives me one, as long as it's for a store/purchase I could use.

However, I am bugged by the same things noted here -- particularly the expiration dates and the charges for non-use. C'mon! The merchant already has the money for the card and should be earning interest on it, so why should they be able to charge more because I'm not using up the value of the card?? Don't get it and don't like it!
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Old 12-12-2007, 10:18 AM   #11
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I don't give or get gifts.

For more flexibility: some shopping malls have gift cards good for any business therein.
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Old 12-12-2007, 10:29 AM   #12
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Love: gift cards from places I already patronize (Trader Joes, REI, BB&B) Restaurants are the exception - those are always nice

Not thrilled with at all: gift cards from places I don't even know the location of! Have two gift cards several years old (still holding full face value - I do check) for Pottery Barn. I'd love the $250 in cash, but cannot cash them in!
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Old 12-12-2007, 10:38 AM   #13
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I don't love them, but have found them good for "low cost" gifts which might otherwise be a box of chocolates or a picture frame - ie for coworkers etc.

so usually it goes for good coffee places, smoothies etc.

also, i found it fun to give one for a store i know a friend would want to buy from, but might not because of the expense, my card helps offset the high price...

but they are hard to keep track of/remember to use, particularly after the holidays when you get a bunch of them.
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Old 12-12-2007, 10:39 AM   #14
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I like gift cards, from say somewhere like Wal-Mart or something. I would rather get a gift card so I can actually buy something I may need, then getting something stupid like a picture frame.

(oops bright eyed, my picture frame comment was not meant towards you, we posted at the same time, I am some relatives that buy me picture frames every year and it drives me nuts)
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Old 12-12-2007, 10:52 AM   #15
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I like the gift cards, because you can match them up with different people's personalities. It's a way being more thoughtful than just saying here is a couple of bucks go buy yourself something.
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Old 12-12-2007, 11:02 AM   #16
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We request gift cards when people want to buy us gifts, mainly because the only other thing people can buy for us that we would want is food and our waistlines don't need that kind of help.

As to giving them, I always make sure that its to a place that someone goes frequently so that they enjoy getting them.
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Old 12-12-2007, 11:04 AM   #17
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I've given gift certificates for fancy restaurants several times...... (I've received them, and enjoyed them also!)
I got a call this morning from a friend of mine, who informed me that I won a door-prize at a benefit the other night, which is a gift certificate to a good BBQ Rib joint that I REALLY like!

Dang! I won the half a pig, and now a gift certificate for BBQ Ribs.....maybe I oughta pick up a lotto ticket!
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Old 12-12-2007, 11:17 AM   #18
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Whether I like gift cards or not depends on which store they are good at, whether I like the store or not.

I think gift cards are meant to be a way to allow the recipient some flexibility on what they want to purchase as their "gift", but without being quite so crass as giving them cold cash. Gift cards at least tell the recipient "I went to some personal effort in selecting and getting your gift, this gift card (ie, I actually had to spend the time to go to the store and get it) and was not too busy to think about you".

Giving them cold cash on the other hand might be construed to say, "I didn't want to take time to shop for your gift, I just thought of you at the last minute, here, have some cash".
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Old 12-12-2007, 11:25 AM   #19
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I like to get them. I actually just got one for LL Bean for a hundred bucks. What I'm going to get at LL Bean, considering I live in Florida, I haven't the foggiest notion. I'll probably end up selling it or trading it at one of these sites:

Cardavenue: Gift Card Exchange, Discounted Gift Cards, Gift Certificates, Gift Card Swap

Trade Gift Cards, Sell Gift Cards, & Buy Gift Cards at Plastic Jungle’s Gift Card Exchange

Star Gift Card Exchange - Home

I haven't used one of these sites yet, but I know people who have and they are really satisfied. Also, my wife just sold a $50 Nordstrom's (we don't have them here) gift card on Ebay for, get this, $46 dollars. Why anyone would buy this for that much money, I don't know.

At any rate, I'm fine getting any gift. If someone cared enough to buy me something, I guess I don't have a lot to complain about.
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Old 12-12-2007, 11:57 AM   #20
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Gator, you can buy t-shirts and shorts at LLBean, I love their stuff!
I don't have much use for the woolies, either!

I don't give gift cards, but I guess I'm okay with getting them. I did give two gift certificates this year, both to my girlfriends, to my personal trainer. Fortunately they won't be offended (like I think they need it or something!).
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