Monday, December 12, 2011

The Great Giftcard Controversy

A few years ago, I gave my sister a giftcard from Eddie Bauer. I knew she liked their products; I needed to find another $50 item for her; and my daughter who was working at Eddie Bauer for the Christmas season could use her 20% discount to get the card for me.

Win-Win, right?

Omigod! You would have thought I'd given my sister a lump of coal.

She let me know in no uncertain terms that a giftcard is thoughtless, a lazy shopper's way out and no way for loving sisters to exchange gifts.

So, lesson learned.

Except that this year, when I queried my children and grandchildren about gifts they'd like to see under the Christmas tree, a surprisingly large number WANTED gift cards--cards to Victoria's Secret, IKEA, Amazon.com, Starbuck's and Nordstrom's.

I can understand, given my somewhat eccentric tastes, why some of my family might NOT want Grace picking out individual gifts but cards bother me a little since it then becomes clear to everyone exactly how much I'm spending on them for Christmas.

Also, how many ways can one wrap a giftcard so that it is any kind of surprise?

Finally, I worry that some of my adult children will spend the giftcards for regular living expenses, not something special for Christmas.

But is that any of my business? If one of my daughters wants to use the giftcard for her boyfriend, should it matter to me? If one uses the giftcard for groceries instead of the clothes I wanted her to buy, what of it?

I'm not a person who particularly likes to shop. Giving giftcards makes it very easy for me, and in many ways, I appreciate that.

In the end, I probably will give cards to those who requested them.

But NOT to my sister!

NEVER again, to my sister!

20 comments:

Florence said...

Please feel free to send me any gift cards that you wish to send!! LOL!!

Michelle P said...

I love getting gift cards!

Juhli said...

Wow, your sister certainly had a strong response to a gift! In my family we send wish lists and happily accept checks or gift cards!

Sharon said...

I LOVE receiving giftcards!! But it sounds like your sister doesn't want to do her own shopping...I guess lesson learned, huh?

nicoleandmaggie said...

The gift of groceries is not a bad one! Nor is the gift of being able to give something to someone else. Sometimes these things have a bigger benefit to one's mental and emotional health than a luxury would.

I imagine the big difference in terms of gift cards is that your sister can buy whatever she wants whenever she wants, so gift cards are just annoying things to remember-- not as easy to use as a plain credit card. So the point of a gift for her isn't the gift but the thought behind it. When you don't have a high income the gift itself is pretty important, and a giftcard means you get the luxury of buying something you want that you wouldn't be able to get otherwise.

I don't mind getting gift-cards, but I almost always just re-gift them to someone who can use them more than I can. I'd rather just use my credit card and not have to think about it. (Except to Amazon... love Amazon gift cards.) We give a lot of Target gift cards to people for baby showers and teacher presents.

Grace. said...

Here's the funny thing: my sister wants presents, but her tastes are more expensive and far more sophisticated than mine, so she always gives me a very specific list from which to choose, complete with catalog numbers, sizes and colors! I allocate a larger amount of money to buy her Christmas presents because she is so generous to me and to my family at Christmas and the rest of the year.

Julie said...

I love gift cards for the local grocery store and have been fortunate to receive them from time to time. I have a friend who receives many gift cards and she carries them in her purse for months leading into 1 year or longer and they are in danger of expiring. Not me; I say SPEND that card.

Hawaii Planner said...

We don't exchange gifts between the adults in my family, because it turned into a gift card swap. ;) That said, if someone is going to get me a gift, I love gift cards!

Judy said...

I love gift cards!

Donna Freedman said...

I wrote about the same subject yesterday. It IS that time of year again, isn't it???
It's not polite to respond with anger when you get a gift you don't like: "I hate that color! I can't believe you'd give me a book when you know I like to watch TV! Your taste in throw pillows is just awful!"
So why, I wonder, is it OK to carp about a gift card? If all else fails, couldn't you just sell it and get something you really want?

Janette said...

I would question her intent if she only handed me a list of things that cost more than my budget for my children....unless she is single.

Morrison said...

I asked my sister for a gas gift card this season. I asked my kids for a Metro train card also. Everyone told me NO! Even though I told them the cards were very much needed. (So I can come and visit with them over the year. What could be better? But I digress).

They told me they wanted to get me something special. Something I would never buy for myself. So, my sister is sending me a food gift basket from Harry & David. Just what I need. Chocolates & cookies.

Oh well. At least I tried to be sensible.

priskill said...

LOVE gift cards to give and receive. I know that people make a big hullaballoo over presents and such but I figure if someone gives me something -- anything! -- I say, Thank you so much! Also, I just don't need another aromatherapy candle or scented whatchamahoosie. LOVE gift cards!

Louise said...

I agree Grace, it's tricky.I'm thinking of giving both my kids gift cards this year. One good thing about gift cards is if they use them after christmas they can get much more value because of the sales, but I still like to give a present as well. But yes, not as exciting as getting a gift to unwrap.

Barb said...

I love getting gift cards. I know that some people oject and in fact one of the people over at msn money regularly blogs about it every christmas. I would not want to get ALL gift cards and appreciate buying and getting gifts. But no one knows how to buy me fabric, and they cant buy home improvemen supplies for me, so those kind of cards are always on my list.

Grace. said...

Janette--my sister and I have a tradition of giving each other expensive gifts. Her idea of expensive ALWAYS outweighs mine--she's given me trips to Paris, complete interior house-painting, etc. My idea of expensive is roughly $500 total, much of which is in running outfits since she is a marathoner. She gives me a list because she doesn't trust my taste. Which is SO true--except that they are on her list, I would NEVER pay $68 for a pair of cashmere kneesocks! But it's what she wants, so I get it for her.

Morrison--I think your kids are wrong. If you asked for and want giftcards, then they should honor that. I'm honoring my adult children's requests for giftcards.

~Carla~ said...

I love Gift Cards too, as long as they're for somewhere that I'd shop... ;) We buy my Father in Law gift cards without fail every year for Christmas & his birthday 2 weeks later because he's so hard to buy for!

Terry said...

Oh my I love gift cards, specially for the movies or restaurants. The amount doesn't matter. A $20 gift card to the movies gets me and DH into the matinee using our senior citizen discount. When my step kids ask what to get us, this is what we tell them...and we do so enjoy them!

Lisa said...

I request gift cards to the movie theatre and to carrabas restaurant every year. You just can't go wrong with dinner and a movie.

Shirls said...

Gift cards are great. Especially the ones to a whole big mall where you can use it in any shop you wish. It's like being a kid in a candy store!