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Gift Cards – Great Gift or Lazy Gift?

Gift Cards
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Shoppin’ ain’t easy.  There are so many gifts to buy for so many people and you’ve got to make each of them unique for the gift receiver.  They always say that “It’s the thought that counts.”  So what about a gift card?  All you have to do there is pick the store and the receiver does the work.  There’s not much thought involved at all.  Does that make a gift card a “lazy” gift?

Personally, I think that if someone thinks of you enough to buy you a gift at all, you should be grateful for it.  It shouldn’t matter what the gift is.

However, there are people who do get offended by “bad gift givers.”  You know who I’m talking about.  They’re the people that buy vacuum cleaners (when they weren’t asked for) so that someone else will clean their floors for them.  They’re the people who buy gifts that they like without any thought about how the receiver feels about them.  They buy fruitcake.  Seriously, who likes fruitcake?

I asked the question last night on facebook and I was surprised by how many people had thoughts on gift cards.

Most of the women who responded on facebook seem to like them.  71% said they either like to receive them or they like to give them.

Facebook responses


Something that a couple people brought up about them is that they give the receiver a chance to pick whatever they want.  They also take away the guilt that people feel about spending money on themselves.

Facebook responses

So who are gift cards good for?

  • People who don’t normally spend money on themselves but still like to shop — It gives them the chance to go shopping and get something they really want but without the guilt of spending actual cash that could have gone for something else.
  • People who have fluctuating weight — How embarrassing is it to buy someone clothes that don’t fit?  Gift cards give that person the chance to go and shop for something that they would want to wear in a size that will fit.
  • People who ask for them — If that’s what they really want, then you can do no harm in buying them exactly what they want.
  • People who have everything — When it comes down to it, most people would rather buy a gift card for someone that has everything than to buy them something that they will never use or turn around and regift.
  • People that you really don’t know that well anyway — If it’s a distant relative or a coworker that you don’t spend a lot of time with, gift cards are a good way to tell them you were thinking of them.

Not everyone was on the gift card bandwagon though.  There were some people who still absolutely hate them.

Facebook responses


One of the best suggestions that people gave however was that most people like to actually “open” a gift.  So either pack the gift card in a wrapped box or give an extra little gift like cookies along with the card.

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