Gift cards have become the go-to choice for many stressed out gift givers. How can a gift card not be the perfect gift when the recipient can select something they really want or need? Let’s forgo the conversation about the joy of selecting something special for that special someone, the pleasure that comes from watching the glee upon opening your hard fought selection, the romantic notion that every year your gift recipient will recall that delightful and well thought out gift that YOU gave them.
We know that gift giving can be very challenging; some people appear to have everything already, or they may have very specific tastes, or you simply cannot come up with single, solitary idea of what to give them. Now, the gift card is looking pretty good.
But wait – before you get all your holiday shopping completed from the gift card rack at your local store, consider some of the awkwardness that may come with an ill-conceived gift card. There are a few guidelines when it comes to selecting gift cards:
• The business goes out of business! Out of luck with that particular gift, make sure you are purchasing from solid businesses.
• There is an inactivity fee and the card loses value
• The card has an expiration date (federal law requires that cards be valid for at least 5 years). Many retailers offer cards with no expiration date.
Believe it or not, there is some thought that goes into selecting gift cards.
Don’t give a gift card to membership stores such as BJ’s or Costco, if your recipient is not a member there. A gift card from Red Lobster may sound wonderful, except that the closest one is in Connecticut! When choosing for your client’s 8-year-old daughter, maybe that gift card from Home Depot isn’t the way to go. Take the time to really think about what interests and excites your gift recipients.Consider the experiences you love and think about sharing that with them. If you simply cannot match the gift card to the recipient, think about getting just a general money card. They are a one size fits all gift that they can use anywhere.
During these stressful holiday seasons, gift cards are the perfect vehicle at the intersection of good intentions and convenience.