Gift Cards

Posted 10:34 pm

I hate gift cards. If I receive a gift card, I know for certain it was not from a friend. A gift card is a way of saying “I think I know you well enough to buy you something, but I don’t really care enough about you to put any effort into it.” I suppose in this regard they’re great, but then again I don’t really buy gifts for people I don’t care enough about to think of what to actually give them.

Now I don’t really think gift cards are all bad. They do serve a purpose. They make a wonderful prize for example. Then again, a prize is not a gift, so maybe they should be called prize cards. Congratulations, you’ve just won whatever it is at this store you might want that happens to be under $50! That’s nice. People giving out prizes don’t care what I want, and a gift card is an excellent way of pretending to give me cash without really giving me cash.

And speaking of cash… I don’t like cash gifts either. That’s just lazy. At least there’s physical effort in purchasing a gift card even if it requires no thought. Giving cash is what older relatives give to children they don’t know well enough to understand but want to be liked by them anyway. And they do it for no special occasions. You visit Gramps over the summer and he slips you a fiver while no one else is looking and winks. Gramps does not (or should not) give you a box with a $20 bill in it for Christmas or your birthday. Naturally, padding a Christmas or birthday card that’s sent by mail with cash is to be expected and is perfectly fine. After all, you can’t exactly send a stereo by mail without paying extra for the postage.

So instead of giving people you hardly know gift cards, don’t instead give them anything at all. If you absolutely have to give them something because of some incomprehensible compulsion you have, give them something simple that you like and that’s cheap enough that neither you nor they will feel offended much if they should “lose” it. Personally, I feel making cookies or some other baked goods are nice, but as they require a hell of a lot more work than buying a plastic card from Target, I can forgive you if you just pass out some fancy holiday candy you picked up at Trader Joe’s or some similar store.

And remember, it’s the thought that counts; if you don’t do any thinking, your gift doesn’t count.

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