The Gift Card

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Congratulations! You are the recipient of American’s most wanted gift, the gift card. The gift card can be exchanged for many useful and necessary items. Cash is not one of them.

Please read the following instructions to learn how to use your new gift card.

Gift cards come with a number of different designs on the front. Ignore the picture; it is the amount that the card will purchase that matters, and they are all spent exactly the same way. You can tell how much the balance is on the card by calling the phone number conveniently located on the back of the card and entering the secret identification number, also on the back of the card.

When you have decided what you want to purchase with your gift card, take it to the retail store indicated on the front of the card. This will most likely be a store you have never heard of with items you are not interested in buying. This is how friends encourage you to try new experiences and to acquire items that you cannot afford. Also, it is how retailers make extra profit from gift cards.

Regardless of the item you select, it will always cost more than the gift card is worth and you will have to pay the additional amount yourself. In this way you are assured of receiving a gift that is exactly what you want, regardless of whether the giver can afford it or not.

In the unlikely event that you select an item which is less expensive than the value of the gift card, you will have approximately $1.58 left on the card. You will then need to carry it around for the rest of your life, or until you find another item that you want to purchase and remember to use the card’s balance.

Gift cards are plastic money, like credit cards, except after they are spent you cannot continue buying with them. You can, however, have them reactivated in whatever amount you wish to pay. Why on earth you would want to reactivate a gift card has never been explained. You can also keep the worthless card as a souvenir after you use it. You will most likely forget that it is spent and try to spend it again a few months later.

If you do not want to use your gift card right away, you can save it until you actually need something and use it at that time. This will give you ample opportunity to lose it or misplace it before it is spent. You can have lost or stolen cards replaced as long as you have the number which is conveniently located on the back of the card that you lost and the receipt which is normally retained by the giver.

If you purchase an item with your gift card and later decided that you do not want or need it, most stores will allow you to return it for a full refund in the form of another gift card. In fact, the trend is to give all refunds in the form of gift cards. You can then use the card to re-gift someone when you do not know what to buy for a gift.

Gift cards have become so popular that some stores sell not only cards for their own store, but cards for other stores as well. A wide variety of colorful designs for all occasions are now available. Customers may have almost as much trouble selecting the right gift card as they would in selecting the right gift.

The biggest gift of all that is given with gift cards is to retailers who make about $8 billion per year in profit from unused and unspent gift cards.

Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
This entry was posted in Finance, Holidays, Humor, Shopping and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Gift Card

  1. messagemaggie says:

    I love to get and give gift cards, but I do hate to carry the partially used ones around (forever).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Retro Roxi says:

    It’s unfortunate when holiday gift-giving no longer requires any thought whatsoever for the recipient in this age of consumerism. It’s an eye-opening post you’ve written, one that makes us pause for thought! Thank you and I hope that you and yours have a wonderful holiday 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A few years back my husband gave me a gift card from a store that I frequent. I had a credit card there that gave points and special coupons. I could not use it to pay for anything I already bought. Nor could I use any of my “special” coupons with it. I had to buy something new at a higher price than what I would normally pay. I was so annoyed that I told the cashier it was stupid (I know it wasn’t her fault and I said that!). I came home and told my husband never to give me a give card again. Having said that, I do appreciate Starbucks gift cards.


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