Gift Cards

We watched the telly over thanksgiving and Christmas commercials were all over. This year McDonald's is going strong with the promo of their gift card the Arch card. It's hard to find a company that doesn't offer some kind of gift card or a shopper that doesn't consider getting one as a gift.

The gift card is one of the lamest gifts you can give. It is one way of saying I don't know what you want and I don't want to really find out. Many times gift cards are useless. They are at stores the recipient doesn't go to and wouldn't take time to visit. Plus it is telling someone else that they need to do the shopping. For some women shopping is a past-time. Not me. And those "shoppers" are likely to be more discriminant.

The gift card also doesn't fit into my concept of gift giving. If I want to give someone a gift I find out what they need and then buy it. If they don't need anything... True the thought counts but I personally think there's a mental disconnect with that concept. The way I look at it the thought and resultant action should be logical.

The "you pay I promise" idea doesn't make a lot of sense to me either. Would you go to the grocery store and give them $50 and say hold this for me and I'll come back some time and get groceries. But I suspect there are many businesses that are surviving on gift cards. They get the revenue and don't have to make a sale other than the gift card. Then there's the economics of gift cards. As prices of things raise the true value of your gift card goes down.

The gift card is just one of many "you pay we promise" scams. The entire insurance industry is built on this concept but that's another day.

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