Monday, October 31, 2016

Gift Cards Suck



Consumerist.com tells us 10 Reasons Why Gift Cards Suck

Money Manifesto.com explains Why You Should Avoid Gift Cards At All Costs – Fraud Sucks

Each year an estimated $1 billion on gift cards go unredeemed, while $5-7 billion on gift cards expire.


I'll explain a few experiences I've had with them.(1) For one merchant I had a $50 gift card. The total came to $45. Nothing in the store was less then $10. So we wanted the $5 difference. No way. Tough boogers. So the person who gave us the card was screwed out of 10% of what they spent.

(2) The late mother-in-law, with all good intentions, gave me a $100 gift certificate for the former 'Today's Man'' which filed for bankruptcy. I was told it couldn't be used. I filled out the forms they gave me. Six months later I received a 50 page settlement explanation why we were SOL for the entire $100. Between the postage and the packet itself must have cost $10. I'd rather have gotten the ten bucks.

(3) Since that time we received several restaurant gift certificates which cost me more then I would have spent somewhere else given the choice.

(4) We also received tickets for two NYC food tours for the both of us. Ok that's nice but it cost us ninety bucks for the bus to get there each time. That's $180.

OK, HERE'S THE DEAL...
Anyone who wants to do something nice for someone make it easy on yourself. Give them cash instead. That way they can spend it on whatever, wherever and whenever they like. An alternative might be lottery tickets. Neither of these obligates the receiver to spend their own money in order to use them. Neither shortchange the giver nor restrict where they can be used.

It may seem cold, but cash is everybody's friend. I'm certain all too many times gifts enclosed with refund receipts end up being cashed out anyway. Same goes with wedding gifts. Who wouldn't prefer cash over a bunch of over priced items from their registry list?

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