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Gift Cards
Old 12-24-2007, 01:48 PM   #1
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Gift Cards

I am not a big fan of gift cards however, they seem to be quite the rage at Christmas time. What happened to just giving someone a $20 bill as a gift? Why is a $20 gift card seemingly more personal? Folks, I do not get it.:confused:

I surely did not know this about the "big four." Perhaps that's why they are the "big four."

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However, cards issued by the "big four" -- American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa -- expire a year after they are issued. The term "expiration" is misleading: You can still use the card after that date, but a monthly fee of $2 will be charged after a year is up until no balance is left on the card.
Yahoo! Personal Finance
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Old 12-24-2007, 01:53 PM   #2
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A piece of plastic feels better than a floppy piece of paper maybe? :confused:
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Old 12-24-2007, 02:00 PM   #3
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I think gift cards seem more personal because it says "I thought about you for a minute and figured out that you're a person who would like to shop at the Dollar Tree!" This year, I bought several gift cards as part of a present, but in these cases, they weren't "I can't figure out what else to buy them." One guy goes to Starbucks every work day, so he got a SB card.

I wonder if the Big Four's monthly charge is for CA as well. If it is, I better let DH know, so he'll use them soon!
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Old 12-24-2007, 02:12 PM   #4
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I just got home from buying a Bass Pro Shops gift card for my daughter's fiance. He's bigtime into hunting and fishing, and I know he'll use that card within 24 hours of the store re-opening after Christmas. Ummm...he also works at the BPS store part-time (they co-own a bar/grill/nightclub as well) and she told me he normally spends at least 1/2 of every paycheck in the store every week, so like I said, the card will be appreciated. Of course, I'm also giving them some cash to go towards their honeymoon in May.
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Old 12-24-2007, 02:38 PM   #5
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We spend several hundred dollars on gift cards this time of year, but they're for us rather than for gifts.

The farm and garden store that we purchase pet food at offers a $5 coupon for every $25 gift card you buy. We purchased a $200 gift card last week and received $40 extra. This is money we were going to spend anyway and I got a 20% immediate return.

We do the same thing at a couple of restaurants we enjoy going to.

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Old 12-24-2007, 02:40 PM   #6
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I bought a gift card for my parents this year for the first time, for Hometown Buffet. They go a lot. But I thought the same thing. I've tried to convince them that giving gifts at Christmas was not necessary but... so this year I sent them a gift card. They sent me a check. To me it seems like we are changing money for money. They are in their 80s and want for nothing. It seemed crazy to me but my mother is happy.:confused:
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Old 12-24-2007, 03:33 PM   #7
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I buy Home Depot cards through AARP at 4% discount. It helps when I'm buying a big ticket item or on a major remodeling binge. Plus the credit card kicks back another 1%.
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Old 12-24-2007, 04:47 PM   #8
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I despise giving or receiving gift cards. However for young adults or children cash or gift cards do not seem a bad thing.
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Old 12-24-2007, 04:47 PM   #9
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I LOVE to receive gift cards. We have specifically requested them from family, letting them know which are our favorite chain stores or online merchants.

We send them a thank you when we use it and let them know what we got with the card.

We live in an RV and travel most of the time. We simply don't have room for bulky gifts, and we really don't "need" anything. So gift cards are great - they take no room, easy to mail or email, and when we encounter a favorite store during our travels, we use it!

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Old 12-24-2007, 04:56 PM   #10
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I go to great lengths to avoid shopping.

Our bank provides free cash gift envelopes, so I picked up three and tucked 10 fifty bux bills into each....... Yeah, this cost me $1.5k, but heck, I got FREE ENVELOPES!

DIL's is labeled "Gift Certificates for your favorite clothing store."
Son's is labeled "Don't tell your wife you have this."
DW's is labeled "Gift Certificates for your favorite quilting store."

Of course, I got DW some more personal gifts via internet shopping. (Why die so soon after starting ER?) And DW got son and DIL more personal gifts from both of us.

Ever since I started this "cash from the old man" practice a few years ago, the three of them seem to like it. A large part due to, I suspect, my proven poor taste in chosing gifts for them!

As alternatives to cash, I do sometimes use restaurant gift cards or booze. Or sometimes I take DS to the pub where we smoke cigars, eat and drink to all hours while DW and DIL watch the kids....... This is not nearly as popular with DW and DIL as it is with DS.
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Old 12-24-2007, 06:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyd View Post

I surely did not know this about the "big four." Perhaps that's why they are the "big four."
Quote:
However, cards issued by the "big four" -- American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa -- expire a year after they are issued. The term "expiration" is misleading: You can still use the card after that date, but a monthly fee of $2 will be charged after a year is up until no balance is left on the card.
Our local newspaper reported one of the new laws (House Bill 369) that takes effect in Illinois on January 1, 2008:

Quote:
People who receive gift cards and gift certificates will no longer have to worry about them unexpectedly losing value. A new law prohibits cards from expiring or losing value if used within a five-year period.
For once, our state politicians came up with something worthwhile!
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Old 12-24-2007, 07:11 PM   #12
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Retailers and credit card companies love to sell gift cards.

There's a good % of them that are never used and that's cash in the retailers and credit card companies pockets.
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Old 12-24-2007, 07:15 PM   #13
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The financial-services research firm TowerGroup estimates that of the $80 billion spent on gift cards in 2006, roughly $8 billion will never be redeemed — “a bigger impact on consumers,” Tower notes, “than the combined total of both debit- and credit-card fraud.”

A survey by Marketing Workshop Inc. found that only 30 percent of recipients use a gift card within a month of receiving it, while Consumer Reports estimates that 19 percent of the people who received a gift card in 2005 never used it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/07/ma...rssnyt&emc=rss
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Old 12-25-2007, 12:02 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyd View Post
I am not a big fan of gift cards however, they seem to be quite the rage at Christmas time. What happened to just giving someone a $20 bill as a gift? Why is a $20 gift card seemingly more personal? Folks, I do not get it.:confused:
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A survey by Marketing Workshop Inc. found that only 30 percent of recipients use a gift card within a month of receiving it, while Consumer Reports estimates that 19 percent of the people who received a gift card in 2005 never used it.
Great marketing!

Please don't mess up the gift card system; it's working great for us. Spouse and I never make a major purchase (especially at Home Depot) without checking Craigslist for gift cards being sold at 85%-90% of face value...

I just want to know who got a $2800 gift card at Macy's, and for what.
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Old 12-25-2007, 07:13 AM   #15
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Why worry about gift cards that are never redeemed?

What about that gift that you received that went in the closet and was quickly forgotten? Or how about the one where you didn't even open the box?

Same difference.....

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Old 12-25-2007, 07:46 AM   #16
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I gave my son $200 in GC for the grocery store where we shop. I could have given him the cash, but wanted to make sure he had food for awhile, and didn't spend the money on other stuff.

He just started a new job and won't get paid for awhile...he can charge gas or other stuff, but not groceries at that store. They don't accept credit cards.
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Old 12-25-2007, 02:54 PM   #17
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I got a $50 gift certificate to the garden store. I was told they heard on the radio they could get a $50 for $25 and know I like plants. I have shopped there before and will find something I can use worth at least $25. I only go to that store once every 5-10 years and mostly to buy trees not flowers or flower pots but now I have to go. Maybe for Mother's day to get something for mom.
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Old 12-26-2007, 10:21 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyd View Post
What happened to just giving someone a $20 bill as a gift? Why is a $20 gift card seemingly more personal? Folks, I do not get it.:confused:
Maybe because you can't log on this morning and shop online with a $20 bill or a $20 check.
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Old 12-26-2007, 01:25 PM   #19
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I find memberships to 20% off discounted gift card clubs...several of the credit cards had these but often targeted......I even am a member of few trading groups...saved a lot on an appliance last year along with a 10% off home depot coupon and sale price...most gift cards are eliminating the depreciation terms and I simply use a 0% for 12 months purchase credit card to have an inventory of cards...best ones are for gas, discount stores, and groceries....
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Old 12-26-2007, 11:20 PM   #20
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I don't like gift cards. Maybe they show "a little more thought" from the giver - but who cares.

I also feel compelled to "buy something" quickly to use up the card and also feel I have to "spend close to value of card" -- so it leads to bad purchasing decisions.

So just before Christmas I "rounded up" all the old gift cards in the house (found several in the kids desks they forgot about....). and I went to retailers to buy stuff and "get rid of cards".

I take a Best Buy gift card - find some ink cartridges to buy - I use the card. Feel relieved to get rid of it.

Then the cashier says "here's your $10 gift card for buying ink at Best Buys - damn..........
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