Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Grinch That Stole The Gift Card

To give is better than to receive. Isn't that what has been drilled in our consumer-laden minds?

We stress and hunt and track down the perfect gift for a friend or a loved one. We battle through the overcrowded malls and shopping centers to find just the object of our loved one's desires.

All the while knowing, hoping, that when they unwrap that package there will be  that look. That look that lets you know that all the effort was worth it.

I tried this year after year for my boys. Most of the time, things went well. But every so often, especially as the boys got older and neared their teen years, despite my best efforts, there would be that look of  disappointment because I hadn't read the signals right. I didn't have a clue what my boys really wanted.

I would smile, they would smile....we would all act like everything was well...but we all knew what we were really thinking: parenting fail.

Then one day, I got a brilliant idea! Why not buy the boys a gift card and they can just go to the store the day after Christmas, or their birthday, or whatever the occasion may be, and they can buy EXACTLY what they want!!! I am a genius !!! Or so I thought. As the years went by, this didn't always go over as well as I had hoped either.

Apparently, the love affair with gift cards is slowly dying. That is pretty much the overall consensus if I am to believe what I just saw on television.  Not once, but twice today I learned that you can contact companies that will BUY those annoying gift cards that you received for some milestone in your life. REALLY???

The guest financial consultant on the morning news was more than happy to provide no less than four websites devoted to buying your unneccessary gift cards for a nominal fee. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. How insensitive!!!  What an irresponsible, in my mind, thing to report on the news!!!

Then, this evening, while watching TV, there was the most unbelievable television commercial I've seen in years!

A woman standing at her foyer side-table, drawer open - filled with "those annoying gift cards"!

What is she going to do. The look on her face says it all; she's been burdened by these so-called gifts. Heaven forbid she should have to actually go out and go shopping for herself  and buy something she might actually like and use!!!

The next scene shows a graduate in cap and gown opening a gift card, and "Pshhh... I can't believe they gave me a gift card", she says as her lip curls in disgust. What a spoiled, selfish little brat !!!

                            ....and, A GIFT CARD from Aunt Margaret, Johnny !!!

 Since when have we all become such gift snobs that we snub a gift card? I don't know about you, but I'm happy just to know that someone thought enough of me to get me a card to my favorite restaurant, or coffee shop, or movie. The fact that someone cares enough to give anything should, and does, warrant my respect and gratitude. It should warrant yours, too!

Somewhere along the line, someone thought it would be a great idea to cash in on our snobbery. I guess I can't begrudge them their entrepreneurial skills and foresight, but I now view them as The Grinch That Stole The Gift Card.

I'll tell you what. If you have a gift card you don't want, I'll gladly take it!!! And be happy to have it !!!
Next year I'm buying everybody a star and naming it after them. Try selling that !!!

PS...By the way, this year my boys got amazing gifts...


  1. You should write the lady that has all the gift cards and show her how to decorate her tree with them. And wasn't it Martha Stewart who once lined her pool with cut up credit cards, like mosaic tiles? I bet you could do the same with unwanted gift cards.

  2. Hmmmmm.....I sense a new project in the making... If so, anonymous, I know who you really are, and I might just try to surprise you with something GC special !!!

  3. I LOVE an afternoon of strolling down the clearance isles of my local target. No children, just a soy latte in my left hand, while pushing the cart with my right. Deciding on something to buy just for myself, something i don't have to consider the budget before purchasing. With my Gift Card! Love them!