Holiday Gift Cards

closeThis post was published 12 years 4 months 30 days ago. A number of changes have been made to the site since then, so please contact me if anything is broken or seems wrong.

OK it’s the end of the year when all good friends need to use up previous gift cards before they expire. Huh! What a joke. What a scam. Your friends pay good money to buy you a nice gift, say $100, from somewhere that they think you’ll enjoy the merchandise. You take your time to think carefully about how or when to spend it. Finally you have it. But alas, the fine print on the reverse of the card says it’s only good for one year. Last Christmas to this Christmas. Oops! Minus one gift from last year. The merchant has effectively stolen your friend’s money. They paid. But the store did not deliver. And you didn’t receive.

What’s the deal? The $100 isn’t going anywhere. The store has had the use of it for an entire year. It’s like paying for an outfit in advance, allowing the store to order it, then telling you it’s too late to pick it up. They’re keeping the outfit and your money. Is this cheating or what?

Or worse: when they deduct a “finance charge” of $1-2 for your not redeeming the gift. Like they’re really working hard to keep your friends money. It is really costing them a fortune while you decide how you might spend the gift card. Exactly for what is the “fee” paying?

All of this really irks me. I implore anyone reading this: read the fine print. Do not purchase any gift card which has any sort of expiration date. Urge your friends to do the same. Better yet, boycott the whole business until they come up with a better gift idea than that.

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