Monday, December 6, 2010

Gift Cards: The Pros and Cons

Dec 4, 2010 Annique Daniel

gift card - flickr

gift card - flickr

You’ve been avoiding that hard-to-buy-for person for weeks, but regrettably, that person can no longer be avoided because there is no one else left on the Christmas gift list. This happens to many people.

A gift card can be a quick solution for that picky person, but you should first consider whether or not a gift card is practical for that last person on your list.

The Pros of Gift Cards

The pros are mostly for the buyers and retailers. A gift card is a quick and easy purchase, and nowadays, you don’t even have to go to the specific store because many gift cards can be purchased at pharmacies and supermarkets.

Gift cards eliminate gift wrapping, and you can avoid hefty shipping fees. They’re a great solution for those who have no idea what their recipients want, and for those who are looking for a last-minute gift.

A survey conducted in 2007 by the U.S. National Retail Federation suggests that 8/10 people purchased gift cards during the holiday shopping season, and the main reason is convenience.

Gift cards are a delight for retailers world-wide. Gift cards tend to propel post-holiday season and January sales because most gift cards are not redeemed until after the New Year.

The gift card recipients are also likely to spend twice the value of the card because they feel that they are getting a deal, all the while putting more money into the retailer’s pocket.

There is one pro for the gift card recipients—they get the luxury of picking out their own gifts.

The Cons of Gift Cards

Many people say that you should be thankful for what you get, and that you should not complain, but there are some negative aspects concerning gift cards.

The first thing the recipient will notice is how much money was spent on his or her gift. Some people may even be offended, and claim that it is not customary to tell someone how much his or her gift was worth.

Gift cards also carry an obligation. In order for the recipient to have access to the gift, the person must go to the store that you have chosen. If your recipient does not like the store, he or she is stuck with the card, or will have to give it to someone else.

Some cards can only be used in store and not online. If the recipient does not like to shop, then he or she may not appreciate the gift.

Some cards have fees, and for every month that the card is not used, money is taken off. Many people do not realize this until they are at the checkout.

Most gift cards do not have cash value. Since they do not offer cash back, they card holder will have to spend the value of the card, and likely, some of their own money.

Some gift cards have an expiry date. If you notice one, you’ll have to let the recipient know...or let them tell you that they could not use their gift card, which can be embarrassing for both of you.

Another major issue with gift cards is that the company may close or go out of business. If this should happen, the store has no obligation to reimburse the cardholders.

The Consumer’s Association of Canada suggests that people should try to avoid buying gift cards because the consumers are giving money to the retailers, yet receiving nothing in return. Approximately ? of all gift cards go unredeemed, but some will argue that it’s the thought that counts.

If you do decide to buy a gift card for that hard-to-buy-for person, here are some things to consider:

  • Choose a store that is convenient for the recipient. For example, if he or she lives in a small town, find a gift card for a store located within that town. Don’t make the person drive out of his or her way to use the gift card.
  • Purchase a gift card that the recipient would like, this might mean that you have to ask friends or family what your recipient’s hobbies or favourite stores are. You can even be straightforward and ask.
  • Some practical stores to consider are Walmart, Kohl’s, Macy’s, and Sears

The right choice is not always clear, but try your best, remember that Christmas is the season of giving, and give a gift from the heart.


“10 Gifts for Mom, and 10 to Not Get Her.” 21 November, 2009.

Gift Cards, Gift Certificates: Compare, and Weigh the Pros and Cons.

The Pros and Cons of Gift Cards. Get Rich 10 December, 2007.

Top Five Worst Mother’s Day Gifts. Readhead Ranting. 4 May, 2010.

Gift Cards: The Lure of Plastic: Consumer life. 5 December, 2008.

Gift Cards, Gift Certificates: Compare, and Weigh the Pros and Cons. 2010.

Copyright Annique Daniel. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

  • gift card - flickr

    gift card - flickr

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service — if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read our FAQ page at
Five Filters featured article: Beyond Hiroshima - The Non-Reporting of Falluja's Cancer Catastrophe.

View the original article here

No comments:

Post a Comment