Gift card (or similar) gift

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities

Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby rjbraun » Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:16 am

I'd like to give someone who has been very helpful to me a gift, basically of money, but I feel that would be awkward or potentially viewed as either tacky or inappropriate, or both, to just hand over money. So I'm thinking instead of a gift card but I would like to give one as generic as possible so that she can use it as she pleases, such as for a nice dinner out with her husband, a splurge for herself or just to pay for daily expenditures, if that's her preference. Of course, being a Boglehead I don't want to pay a fee or anything for the card, so a $250 gift card won't cost me a penny more than the face amount. Personally, I don't use debit cards but would a prepaid debit card do the trick here? Can they be registered so if the card gets lost there's recourse? I'm not sure if I'll see her anytime soon so it would be easier, though not essential, if I could mail her the gift.

Thanks in advance for any ideas or suggestions.
rjbraun
 
Posts: 395
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:22 pm

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby centrifuge41 » Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:35 am

Generic Visa/Master/Amex gift cards have fees. Typically $3.95, 4.95, or 5.95. You can't do anything about it. Prepaid debit cards are not appropriate. You need Name, Address, SSN, etc to register them.

Just go to your preferred (drugstore, office store, gas station, grocery store) and use a cashback card to buy a Visa gift card or something. You have a Chase Freedom or Citi Dividend right? 5% on drugstores this quarter. CVS etc sell variable load Visas up to $500 for a $4.95 fee.
centrifuge41
 
Posts: 997
Joined: Mon May 17, 2010 10:04 am

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby chipmaker » Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:00 am

American Express, from time to time, has online promotions where you can buy fee-free gift cards. If you are time bound, this may not work for you. But something worth considering/researching.
chipmaker
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:50 am

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby jsl11 » Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:24 am

Costco stores carry a limited selection of gift cards. They are not generic, but are for specific restaurants. However, they are better than no-fee. The price is $75 to $80 for $100 cards (or two $50 cards).

Jeff
jsl11
 
Posts: 3079
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:26 pm
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby khh » Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:10 am

I bought 8 $100 Visa gift cards from Chase for Christmas. I had enough on deposit that they waived all fees. Check with your bank.
khh
 
Posts: 176
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 11:31 pm

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby linuxuser » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:44 am

centrifuge41 wrote: You have a Chase Freedom or Citi Dividend right? 5% on drugstores this quarter. CVS etc sell variable load Visas up to $500 for a $4.95 fee.

I wish the 5% on drugstores was in the 3rd or 4th quarter. I usually end up buying several gift cards for the holiday wish tree gifts.
I hate buying up gift cards and possibly forgetting about them when December rolls around.
User avatar
linuxuser
 
Posts: 1107
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:15 pm

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby linuxuser » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:46 am

khh wrote:I bought 8 $100 Visa gift cards from Chase for Christmas. I had enough on deposit that they waived all fees. Check with your bank.


Fee waived for Premier checking customers and better.

rules me out :-)

The Chase guy has been bugging me every couple of months with a phone call ever since I opened up a checking account to get $200. Ugh!
User avatar
linuxuser
 
Posts: 1107
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:15 pm

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby fareastwarriors » Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:44 pm

How about an E-Amazon gift card?
Everyone shops at Amazon? no?
fareastwarriors
 
Posts: 607
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:31 pm

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby rjbraun » Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:00 pm

linuxuser wrote:
khh wrote:I bought 8 $100 Visa gift cards from Chase for Christmas. I had enough on deposit that they waived all fees. Check with your bank.


Fee waived for Premier checking customers and better.

Thanks for the Chase suggestion. I'm pretty sure my account-level should qualify for the fee-waiver. If not, I'll try to keep an eye for any Amex offers that may crop up. I guess I could go the Amazon route but that would probably preclude my friend from using the gift card for a nice dinner out with her husband.

Nope, I don't have a Chase Freedom or Citi Dividend card. I should probably get a (rather, another) Chase card one of these days. I just hate having so many cards to keep track of. Aargh, I just prepaid a year's worth of health club membership dues so I missed a great opportunity to apply a $2000+ charge to a new card. Alas, at least I got points on my Amtrak Guest Rewards card.
rjbraun
 
Posts: 395
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:22 pm

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby blevine » Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:03 am

A gift (vs a tip) should be personal.
You need to use your personal preference and knowledge of what the recipient would appreciate.
If there is a particular restaurant you think they love or should try, nothing wrong with getting
a gift certificate for a particular restaurant.

If you really want to give them max flexibility, I see nothing wrong with a check
that says "Happy Birthday" (pick your reason) in the memo field.
I know I prefer cash/check over a Visa gift card, by a great deal.
That said, if I get a store card to a store I like or a good restaurant that's good too,
so long as it's enough to pay for a full meal for the couple. $25 at a restaurant
where the meal would cost $75 may well cause me to toss the card or sell it online,
unless it's one I already like and frequent.

Many factors in gifting, this is not the same as selecting credit cards for yourself where
fees/rewards are the only factor.
blevine
 
Posts: 1000
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:57 pm
Location: 192.168.1.2

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby bUU » Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:18 am

I see things pretty much opposite: I see cash/check as exceedingly cold measure for gifting, and see flexible gift cards (Visa, AMEX, even Amazon.com) as a superlatively good approach.

I also recognize that unless you're living with someone day in and day out you may not know good gifts to get them. You don't have an easy way to know what they may or may not have already gotten themselves, or even as previous gifts from others. As we often find ourselves wanting to give a gift to someone who lives quite apart from ourselves, gift cards are becoming the ideal alternative, if it were not for the trend towards fees.
User avatar
bUU
 
Posts: 555
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:41 pm

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby sscritic » Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:28 am

blevine wrote:A gift (vs a tip) should be personal.
You need to use your personal preference and knowledge of what the recipient would appreciate.
If there is a particular restaurant you think they love or should try, nothing wrong with getting
a gift certificate for a particular restaurant.

Agreed. When I was taking Chinese, we non-Chinese were paired with native speakers. My partner liked music and shoes (and was a great help to me). I got her an iTunes gift card which I gave her in a thank you card at the final. She was embarrassed and invited me to go with her and another classmate to lunch (Chinese, of course); I accepted.

I gave my children gift cards to Red Robin at Christmas. My son gave me a gift card to Brent's, my favorite delicatessen. Either he likes me more than I like him or he knows me better than I know him. Oh, and his was for twice as much as mine; he does like me better than I like him. :)

Well, maybe it's because he knows Brent's is twice as expensive as Red Robin.
Super Fish platter for two: $45.95
Lox, Cod, Whitefish and Creamed Herring.
Served with Cream Cheese, Potato Salad, Cucumber Salad, Coleslaw, 4 Bagels or Rolls,
Tomatoes, Sliced Bermuda Onions, Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice for Two and Coffee refills for Two.

Super Buffet for two: $42.95.
Corned Beef, Pastrami, Brisket of Beef, Chopped Liver, Turkey and Swiss Cheese.
Served with Potato Salad, Coleslaw, Cucumber Salad, Hot Rye Bread and 2 delicious Cups of Soup.
http://brentsdeli.com/PDFs/Online_NR_Togo.pdf

(And who knew that lima bean soup was delicious.)
sscritic
 
Posts: 21863
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:36 am

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby leonard » Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:40 pm

jsl11 wrote:Costco stores carry a limited selection of gift cards. They are not generic, but are for specific restaurants. However, they are better than no-fee. The price is $75 to $80 for $100 cards (or two $50 cards).

Jeff


I'll second this. The costco gift cards are an incredible deal - given the discount purchase from face value. If you can narrow the person's interest to local restaurants or events (they sell cards for local events also), this is a great option.
Leonard | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.
leonard
 
Posts: 4147
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2007 12:56 pm

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby rjbraun » Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:36 pm

blevine wrote:A gift (vs a tip) should be personal.
You need to use your personal preference and knowledge of what the recipient would appreciate.
If there is a particular restaurant you think they love or should try, nothing wrong with getting
a gift certificate for a particular restaurant.

If you really want to give them max flexibility, I see nothing wrong with a check
that says "Happy Birthday" (pick your reason) in the memo field.
I know I prefer cash/check over a Visa gift card, by a great deal.
That said, if I get a store card to a store I like or a good restaurant that's good too,
so long as it's enough to pay for a full meal for the couple. $25 at a restaurant
where the meal would cost $75 may well cause me to toss the card or sell it online,
unless it's one I already like and frequent.

Many factors in gifting, this is not the same as selecting credit cards for yourself where
fees/rewards are the only factor.


bicker wrote:I see things pretty much opposite: I see cash/check as exceedingly cold measure for gifting, and see flexible gift cards (Visa, AMEX, even Amazon.com) as a superlatively good approach.

I also recognize that unless you're living with someone day in and day out you may not know good gifts to get them. You don't have an easy way to know what they may or may not have already gotten themselves, or even as previous gifts from others. As we often find ourselves wanting to give a gift to someone who lives quite apart from ourselves, gift cards are becoming the ideal alternative, if it were not for the trend towards fees.

In a lot of ways I think one of the nicest gift you can give someone is something that they really, really want -- but are unlikely to buy for themselves (too much of a splurge, didn't think of it, etc.). At the same time, unless it's a service or something that will be consumed, I also hate the idea of adding to someone's "clutter", even more so if they will feel obliged to keep something just because it was a gift.

So if I could arrange for a dinner at a restaurant I know or think they would like, that could work though the practical (Boglehead?) side of me thinks, wouldn't it be even better to give them a Visa gift card (or similar) that my friend could then choose on her own how to spend? Granted, if she's like me then there's the risk that maybe she will be very practical and spend the money on everyday stuff like groceries, though I have a feeling she would more likely use the funds for something *special*. After all this rambling, I guess maybe I come out on the side of gift card for someone where I know or suspect the money will be appreciated / needed, and less appropriate for someone so wealthy that the money would be superfluous.

As for giving an actual personal check as a gift, I definitely have been on the receiving, and giving, end of that, but it's almost always been for immediate family members or very close relatives. For me, I think I would feel uncomfortable doing that in this particular circumstance.
rjbraun
 
Posts: 395
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:22 pm

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby sscritic » Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:48 pm

rjbraun wrote:In a lot of ways I think one of the nicest gift you can give someone is something that they really, really want ...

So if I could arrange for a dinner at a restaurant I know or think they would like, that could work though the practical (Boglehead?) side of me thinks, wouldn't it be even better to give them a Visa gift card (or similar) that my friend could then choose on her own how to spend?

"It's the thought that counts."

My son knows I like Brent's but think it is too expensive to go there very often. He gave me a Brent's gift card. That shows that he thought about me.* Compare that to a generic Visa gift card that I would use to buy groceries. I appreciate the Brent's card much more than I would a generic "I didn't think of you specifically" gift card.

* Although he did ask me last week at lunch time when I visited him if I had brought my Brent's card with me. I hadn't. Whew! :)
sscritic
 
Posts: 21863
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:36 am

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby bigb » Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:53 pm

You can buy discounted gift cards on this website. They are all for specific places so you may or may not be interested. Check it out, one might work out well for you.

https://www.plasticjungle.com/buy-gift-cards

Chase
User avatar
bigb
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:01 pm

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby ThatGuy » Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:03 pm

blevine wrote:A gift (vs a tip) should be personal.


A personal gift of something you know the recipient has been dying for is the ideal, but that has yet to happen in my own life. Invariably, when I receive an actual physical item, it's something I don't want or stop using within 6 months. Then, it sits around in my garage taking up space because I feel guilty getting rid of it. The things I really want are all too expensive for others to just gift to me.

/queue George Carlin speaking about stuff

bicker wrote:I see things pretty much opposite: I see cash/check as exceedingly cold measure for gifting, and see flexible gift cards (Visa, AMEX, even Amazon.com) as a superlatively good approach.


rjbraun wrote:As for giving an actual personal check as a gift, I definitely have been on the receiving, and giving, end of that, but it's almost always been for immediate family members or very close relatives. For me, I think I would feel uncomfortable doing that in this particular circumstance.


I disagree. I prefer cash to a gift card. A gift card means that I will end up spending money, because nothing costs an even $25, or whatever rounding you used on the card. So I want to make sure I use every last cent of that gift, which means I then give the company more money. They're a great racket for any business, as they're assured to get at least as much spending as the face value of the card.

Money is fungible. If you give me $100, I get to spend it on whatever will make me happiest at that moment. Maybe buying groceries makes me happier than that Red Lobster dinner. Hell, being a Boglehead, putting that $100 into my brokerage account will bring me greater utility than anything else you could gift me for $100.

Stop it with the ridiculous notion that giving cash/cheque is tacky!

I take no credit or blame for the collapse of our economy when people see the light and stopping buying so much crap out of this false need to give something.

* My favorite gift, as my family knows, is a pound or more of gourmet chocolate accompanied by a cheque (or cash).
Last edited by ThatGuy on Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Work is the curse of the drinking class - Oscar Wilde
ThatGuy
 
Posts: 669
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:00 am

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby sscritic » Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:09 pm

ThatGuy wrote:* My favorite gift, as my family knows, is a pound or more of gourmet chocolate accompanied by a cheque (or cash).

But if you had to choose? That's the real question: cash or a box of chocolate, which is the better gift?
sscritic
 
Posts: 21863
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:36 am

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby ThatGuy » Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:27 pm

Cash. All the way.

Life is like a box of chocolates, after all.
Work is the curse of the drinking class - Oscar Wilde
ThatGuy
 
Posts: 669
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:00 am

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby cherijoh » Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:40 pm

Years ago I attended the wedding of a friend who was planning to move overseas with her new husband. They were both just out of college and didn't have a lot of money for a honeymoon. I got them an Amex gift card that would cover a nice meal for two at the time and included it with a card that said to go have a romantic dinner out on me. I later got rave reviews of the restaurant they had tried so I think it was a popular gift choice. :D There was a fee attached but I think it was before they started getting so outrageous. I think nowadays all the generaic gift cards carry fees, while most of the specific ones do not.

If you know of a particular restaurant that the person likes you can often arrange for a gift certificate even if it isn't a chain restaurant - sometimes this is literally a typed certificate from the restaurant indicating the amount of the gift. Alternatively, some of the chain restaurants that have serveral different "brands" will offer a gift card that is good at any of their restaurants types.

For readers, a gift card to a bookstore are great - I used to give Border's gift cards since that covered Books and Music. For a movie buff, check to see if any of the big theatre chains are convenient for your recipient. I think gift cards are great especially when someone has taken the time to get me one they know I will use (favorite clothing store, restaurant, etc).

C
cherijoh
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:49 pm
Location: Charlotte NC

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby jsl11 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:52 pm

If you stop and think about it, a gift card is nothing more than cash with restrictions (and perhaps fees). To use a gift card, you generally have to spend extra, or some part of the gift card goes unused. There is really no advantage of a gift card over cash. However, somehow, our society thinks that gift cards are acceptable, and cash is somehow crude.

A similar phenomenon exists with greeting cards. The best form of an expression of good wishes is a hand-written note. However, we have reached a situation where many in our society feel that a purchased greeting card is not only better, but necessary.

IMO, both gift cards and greeting cards are marketing achievements that have changed public opinion on a massive scale, and have become widely accepted and even expected, without any logical basis for their existence.

Jeff
jsl11
 
Posts: 3079
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:26 pm
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby rjbraun » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:59 pm

bigb wrote:You can buy discounted gift cards on this website. They are all for specific places so you may or may not be interested. Check it out, one might work out well for you.

https://www.plasticjungle.com/buy-gift-cards

Chase

Thanks, bigb. So if I followed correctly there's no fee and I could buy, say, an Apple gift card at a 4.5% discount. Instead of paying full-price for an iPad I could buy it at a 4.5% discount, is that right? Is there any "catch"?

I don't see any retailers that would make sense for my friend's gift but one of the cards could makes sense for one of my potential purchases one day.
rjbraun
 
Posts: 395
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:22 pm

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby bigb » Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:10 pm

rjbraun wrote:
bigb wrote:You can buy discounted gift cards on this website. They are all for specific places so you may or may not be interested. Check it out, one might work out well for you.

https://www.plasticjungle.com/buy-gift-cards

Chase

Thanks, bigb. So if I followed correctly there's no fee and I could buy, say, an Apple gift card at a 4.5% discount. Instead of paying full-price for an iPad I could buy it at a 4.5% discount, is that right? Is there any "catch"?

I don't see any retailers that would make sense for my friend's gift but one of the cards could makes sense for one of my potential purchases one day.


I only found about about the site a few months ago and have not purchased any yet, but I will probably end up doing what you are saying when I decide to buy a new computer or something along those lines. I also found the following on their site, "Plastic Jungle is the best way to sell, buy, exchange or donate gift cards on the Internet. We offer the most innovative, convenient and safe way to get the most out of gift cards. All transactions are guaranteed, there are no fees, and standard shipping is free!" So I dont believe there is a catch. It also appears that many of their gift cards are ecodes which would be great for personal use.

Chase
User avatar
bigb
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:01 pm

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby rjbraun » Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:11 pm

jsl11 wrote:If you stop and think about it, a gift card is nothing more than cash with restrictions (and perhaps fees). To use a gift card, you generally have to spend extra, or some part of the gift card goes unused. There is really no advantage of a gift card over cash. However, somehow, our society thinks that gift cards are acceptable, and cash is somehow crude.

Fair point.
jsl11 wrote:IA similar phenomenon exists with greeting cards. The best form of an expression of good wishes is a hand-written note. However, we have reached a situation where many in our society feel that a purchased greeting card is not only better, but necessary.

Another fair point. In fact, I actually need to send a couple of cards for birthdays later this month. I literally was just thinking that I should go to the Hallmark store to try to find ones that were customized for the particular birthday recipients. I don't know, maybe it's irrational but getting customized cards does show that you went to the extra trouble to find a particular card. Still, I agree that it's really the sentiment you write that counts. But maybe that's just it: buying a pre-made card avoids the need to come up with your own message. Clever how instead of seeming *lazy* you can maybe seem to have actually taken extra care by going to the store to buy a special card.
jsl11 wrote:IIMO, both gift cards and greeting cards are marketing achievements that have changed public opinion on a massive scale, and have become widely accepted and even expected, without any logical basis for their existence.

Jeff

Yeah, isn't that what marketing is all about. :annoyed Not only have marketers of gift cards collected fees from buyers of the cards, they also make a bunch of money on unused or lost gift cards.
rjbraun
 
Posts: 395
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:22 pm

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby Toons » Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:22 pm

I have been giving gift cards from Wal-Mart for quite a few years,you can email them if you so choose :happy

http://www.walmart.com/cp/Gift-Cards/96894
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee
User avatar
Toons
 
Posts: 4271
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 11:20 am
Location: Hills of Tennessee

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby rjbraun » Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:26 pm

Okay, thanks for all the input everyone. Now I'm reconsidering and wondering if I should try to figure out her favorite restaurant(s) in her neighborhood and inquire about gift cards or certificates. While this would seem to ensure she uses the money for a nice dinner, and not groceries or something mundane, I see a not insignificant drawback: it will likely be hard for her to spend the exact face amount of the gift. Hence, she will either have a stub amount left (too small to pay completely for another visit), and be forced to order something just to use up the credit and / or give a more generous tip than she may feel is warranted. Alternatively, if she increases her party-size to be sure to spend the entire face value (I was thinking of something on the order of $250), there's a decent chance she will exceed it and someone will need to spend their own money.

I know the personal check route would avoid this issue but I'm just not keen on it in this case. So I guess I'm back to the Visa gift card route (since unused funds can be applied to groceries, etc.), unless any Bogleheads have any ideas around this ...?
rjbraun
 
Posts: 395
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:22 pm

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby centrifuge41 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:28 pm

Instead of buying on Plasticjungle, do a lookup on giftcardgranny.com. It looks up multiple gift card exchanges at once so you can get the best deal.
centrifuge41
 
Posts: 997
Joined: Mon May 17, 2010 10:04 am

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby sscritic » Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:31 pm

rjbraun wrote: Now I'm reconsidering and wondering if I should try to figure out her favorite restaurant(s) in her neighborhood and inquire about gift cards or certificates. While this would seem to ensure she uses the money for a nice dinner, and not groceries or something mundane, I see a not insignificant drawback: it will likely be hard for her to spend the exact face amount of the gift. Hence, she will either have a stub amount left (too small to pay completely for another visit), and be forced to order something

How much is coffee? If it is her favorite restaurant, she probably doesn't mind paying a little bit herself. Say a meal is $30. She gets 9 of her favorite meals for $20 of her own plus $250 of yours. I would make that deal in a heartbeat. If a meal is only $15, she gets 17 of her favorite meals for $5. Of course, she will pay the least overage if you get her a McDonald's* gift card. :)

* There is a $1 menu and senior coffee is even less.
sscritic
 
Posts: 21863
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:36 am

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby nitpar » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:40 pm

ThatGuy wrote:
blevine wrote:A gift (vs a tip) should be personal.


A personal gift of something you know the recipient has been dying for is the ideal, but that has yet to happen in my own life. Invariably, when I receive an actual physical item, it's something I don't want or stop using within 6 months. Then, it sits around in my garage taking up space because I feel guilty getting rid of it. The things I really want are all too expensive for others to just gift to me.

/queue George Carlin speaking about stuff

bicker wrote:I see things pretty much opposite: I see cash/check as exceedingly cold measure for gifting, and see flexible gift cards (Visa, AMEX, even Amazon.com) as a superlatively good approach.


rjbraun wrote:As for giving an actual personal check as a gift, I definitely have been on the receiving, and giving, end of that, but it's almost always been for immediate family members or very close relatives. For me, I think I would feel uncomfortable doing that in this particular circumstance.


I disagree. I prefer cash to a gift card. A gift card means that I will end up spending money, because nothing costs an even $25, or whatever rounding you used on the card. So I want to make sure I use every last cent of that gift, which means I then give the company more money. They're a great racket for any business, as they're assured to get at least as much spending as the face value of the card.

Money is fungible. If you give me $100, I get to spend it on whatever will make me happiest at that moment. Maybe buying groceries makes me happier than that Red Lobster dinner. Hell, being a Boglehead, putting that $100 into my brokerage account will bring me greater utility than anything else you could gift me for $100.

Stop it with the ridiculous notion that giving cash/cheque is tacky!

I take no credit or blame for the collapse of our economy when people see the light and stopping buying so much crap out of this false need to give something.

* My favorite gift, as my family knows, is a pound or more of gourmet chocolate accompanied by a cheque (or cash).


+1

The "gift card" marketing folks in this country have systematically brain-washed people in now strongly believing that giving cash is tacky - no its not at all now - and it never will be. I totally agree with the above that its such an inconvinience to buy exact same amount (let alone from that specific store) as on the card. Ditto for generic cards since it involves ridiculous and bogus fee ($3.95 etc).

Bottom line - either give a real gift (with a gift receipt - still a hassle though) or just give cash with a nice "thank you" card - better yet hand-made the card to look more personal.
nitpar
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 5:57 pm

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby bUU » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:52 pm

nitpar wrote:The "gift card" marketing folks in this country have systematically brain-washed people in now strongly believing that giving cash is tacky

Cash had always been tacky. The "gift card marketing folks" just capitalized on what had always been the case. If anything, the tackiness of cash is something that is subsiding in recent decades. But aspersions aimed at folks who abide by the long-standing standard that you personally reject are off-target.
User avatar
bUU
 
Posts: 555
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:41 pm

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby sscritic » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:58 pm

Cash is not tacky if it comes in red envelopes and you are Chinese. This is particularly true at weddings and New Years. Otherwise, I vote tacky.

P.S. Do you like cash dances at weddings where all the men get to dance with the bride as long as they pin cash to her wedding dress? I don't; still tacky. I guess I have to take that back; it is not tacky if the bride is Chinese and you pin a red envelope on her dress, which may be red itself at that point. [I try and be consistent with myself, so I will accept red envelopes pinned to a red dress of a Chinese bride.]
sscritic
 
Posts: 21863
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:36 am

Re: Gift card (or similar) gift

Postby rjbraun » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:11 am

Just wanted to circle back and thank everyone for all their feedback. I ended up getting two gift certificates from two different restaurants. I know the person reasonably well. With that background and a little legwork I was able to come up with a short-list of restaurant ideas. I bounced the ideas off her without her catching on to my motivation. It was nice to be able to surprise her and get her something she would really like and enjoy. After I learned that one of the two restaurants I selected was her favorite, I even bumped up the amount some, as I knew she would really enjoy it a lot.

Thanks again for the help!
rjbraun
 
Posts: 395
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:22 pm


Return to Personal Consumer Issues

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: BillyG, Chan_va, gatorman, gougmonk, notinuse, piperkub, rob, ryman554, tecmage, Yahoo [Bot] and 78 guests