Gift Card Gifts - The Pros And Cons
Dear April Masini,
I've noticed that at a lot of the wedding and baby showers I've been to lately, people have been giving gift cards instead of gifts. I was taught to give an actual gift at these types of events, and that giving cash was tacky. Isn't a gift card just a more limited version of cash?"
Obviously, buying gift cards instead of gifts would make my life easier, and if the people receiving them would rather have them than a regular gift, then who am I to argue? But I don't want to follow the trend if it's a gift-giving faux-pas. What do you think?
Gift (Not Gift Card) Giver
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Gift (Not Gift Card) Giver,
Gift cards — or gift certificates — are great gifts that can be seen as bonus gifts — or impersonal, last-minute, thoughtless attempts at a gift. You really need to gauge your relationship with the recipient and their personality/attitude before deciding if it's appropriate to give a gift card. It's a personal choice for each gift you give, as it should be.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Advantages of gift cards:
- You don’t have to worry about whether a gift fits, is the right color, size or something the recipient will like. They can pick what they want.
- They’re easy to get — and if you’re organized, you can purchase them online, and have them e-mailed or snail mailed to the recipient, or yourself to wrap and present in person.
- They’re recyclable. If you don’t like a gift card store someone gave you — pass it on as a recycled gift.
Disadvantages of gift cards:
- Recipients feel they’re impersonal — or worse, recycled.
- They’re like cash. Lose ‘em and you lost your gift.
- If you’re sensitive about people knowing how much you spent, the gift card will tell the person exactly what you’re giving them, in terms of money.
Why are these cards great for retailers?
- There is less hassle of item returns.
- They don’t take up retail space.
- They are easy to keep track of.
- When the gift cards are lost, the retailers still make money.