Attention Shoppers – PSA Gift Cards Purchase & Usage

So you’re doing housework or looking for something and you’ve come across a brunch of unused gift cards and heavens gates proceeds to open up because you’ve hit the serendipitous jackpot. You’re all excited and you call the number on the back of the card to investigate the balance. Or worse, you make a field trip to the store to purchase something you’ve been salivating for. You’re ringed up at the register, swipe your gift card, and you get the shaming “I’m sorry mame/sir you’re an imbecile because you’ve just wasted free money someone spent their hard earned money on”. Then the same rush of emotions comes over you similar to when your credit or debit card has previously been denied. You in turn want to punch the cashier in the throat as a line of 20 other impatient late gift card shoppers are breathing down your neck and rolling their eyes. Or, you want to cuss out Bank of America when you call them to find out what’s going on because they got you looking like you’re a broke… (Kathryn has now been triggered by past events. Breathe, Kathryn.)

Did you know $1.0 Billion was wasted last year as a result of gift cards not being used based on their specified terms and conditions or used at all? You know companies are banking on this right? Yep, we buy gift cards as no stress presents and then they don’t get used. We forget we have them. We don’t read the fine print. Meaning, if gift cards are not used within a specified time (sometimes 30 or 90 days) the value decreases and continues to decrease.

Trust, I’ve been on both sides. I’m down to the wire to get gifts and I roll into the oh so convenient neighborhood supermarket or drug store. I am blessed by the endless carousels of colorful gift cards (Oooohhh! Ahhhhh! Humph… Bass Pro Shops… Cooooool!) to choose from. Or, I’ve been gifted with gift cards and during one of my big cleans or as I’m tearing up my place looking for the bonus check I forgot about, I come across a bunch of gift cards and I’m like YAAAAAAAYYYY!!! And, I literally do a happy gift cards dance. But, then I have a WTH moment when I realize the value has been cut in half or there is no money to use. Yeah, I’m that imbecile.

With this all in mind, I thought I’d share some helpful tips for the givers and receivers in da house.

For those too lazy to purchase an actual thoughtful gift:

  • Understand this form of gift giving is a risk, because the card may never be used. It’s riskier than re-gifting that bag used to store cosmetics or the electric hand warmer. 
  • Read the fine print on gift cards. Avoid buying cards with short lived terms.
  • Avoid buying debit card type gift cards. They usually have the worst terms. 
  • Buy directly from the retailer. They are more trusted. And, usually their cards maintain the full value with no deadlines to use by.
  • Set reminders so you can remind the recipients to use the darn thing. Someone may think this tacky, but that’s hard earned money. And, plus we do forget and could appreciate the reminder. You don’t have to flat out ask. But, it could be a gentle (yet passively aggressive) reminder such as “Hey, what cool and funky item did you get with the Bass Pro Shop gift card.” And, they get flush red with shame and reply “Oh?!?! That?!?!…” And, you get all pissed off because it’s three months later and you’re still up to your eyeballs in debt from buying all those swinging carousel colorful gift cards. “You get a gift card. You get a gift card.” (In my Oprah voice.) Maybe, I should rethink this particular tip.
  • Be creative and thoughtful by purchasing an actual gift for that someone special. That is, unless you’re a lousy gift giver. Or you’re absolutely sure they LOOOOVVVEEE Bass Pro Shops and would love to purchase one of those orange jumpsuits to hunt in and that will blend well with the fall foliage. My wish gift even though I don’t hunt. Ijs.

For the ungrateful, your money and unthoughtful lazy gesture means nothing to me receivers:

  • USE THE GIFT CARD SOMEONE SPENT THEIR HARD EARNED MONEY TO GET YOU! It’s the least you can do as they are now up to their eyeballs in debt because of you. 
  • Read (don’t ADHD skim) the fine print. Know the terms of the gift card to avoid not benefiting from the full value. Or lose out being able to use it at all.
  • To avoid forgetting or if you’re saving up for a rainy day, set a calendar reminder. Make a note of the terms and deadline for the full value.
  • AND, USE THE GIFT CARD SOMEONE SPENT THEIR HARD EARNED MONEY TO GET YOU!

Enjoy the holidays lovelies with peace, love, and joy. And, remember a thank you card (the one you actually mail) goes a long way to making someone’s day. Oh, and please shop responsibly. Peace! Love! Joy! #BeDoLove

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2 comments

  1. Retailers may not appreciate this thoughtful post…but thanks for the good information. I have a few gift cards in my wallet “I’ve been saving”…ugh.

    1. I gotta look out for the every man and every woman. The retailers gonna be awight. I gotta make sure we are. Lol. Love! PS: I’m available to help spend those gift cards.

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