itunes gift card (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012)
I was having a conversation tonight with a couple of friends about gifts and gift cards as well as exchanges and returns. After about 5 minutes of discussing the gift card industry and things associated with it (Specifically a gift card i received for christmas early this year. This was a gift card that came with a gift receipt.) We started to realize that there was Zero, 0, Zilch. Non, Nada reason for one to be included with the card.
Then we started to realize that with the implementation of Gift Receipts, even if paid for with cash, one can ever only get store credit or an exchange. With the gift receipt we can never prove that cash was spent on the item because they so graciously leave off form of payment so they can force you to contain the money within their company or store.
Once a gift card is purchased, the money has to go to the store. You can not change your mind and get any kind of refund anymore. People used to pay with checks and if you wanted to return something, and you paid by check, they would return to you cash. Since checks are practically antiquated, the only way to get your money back is to have the original receipt and within that first 7 days, you can free your money in what ever form that you chose to pay with.
Then we started to think about how many BILLION$ and BILLION$ of dollar$ that are floating out there in our wallets, our pockets, the dumpster, the sidewalk, the cushions of the couch etc. with a small remainder of credit on that very gift card that will NEVER be used. Just think about the amount of money that is generated on that odd remainder! That is technically our money still. But it is already with the company so they really are making a double double double profit. Profit from the initial gift card purchase and then the mark ups when spent on the items and then the unspent remainder. All benefiting the company and the company alone.
I remember years back when we didnt like something that we got, we could go back with the tags in place within the seven days and we could get some money. Nordstrom did this for MANY MANY years to many returners (and scammers) appreciation.
Now i think about how much money is going one way never to be able to come back if it is something we dont want these days.
Now I can definitely see the benefit of these gift card trading (buy and sell) sites as well as places like ebay and amazon to be able to resell your brand new perfectly unused unwanted item to retrieve some cash said item.
All in all, they are fleecing us dry by the looks of it in a lot of ways, that are less obvious than higher interest rates and inflation. There are the fees and the 1 way money flow… out of our pockets & into theirs. It is pretty scandalous and we dont even see it or realize it happening or at least the bigger impact of what these policies truly mean for them stealing our money.
So on this year of gift giving… Do your loved ones a favor… Just give them CASH for godsake! It is a different time than it used to be. It is no longer seen as lazy or tacky to give cash. It is only what we work our whole lives for! Cash=freedom so you are actually giving them the feeling of freedom when cash is given!
People are not judged by how much they spend, but on what they spend. Give your loved one the right to chose where that hard earned money should be spent. That way, A. the change stays with them and B. they will have a receipt showing that they paid cash incase they change their mind when they get home. The bottom line is you are at least giving the windfall to the one you are giving to and not some financial corporation for them to take over the free world with!
Plus.. Cash is pretty!