Okay.. so gift cards are great. From Lattes to lounge wear, there are gift cards for almost every business and service available. "Get what you really want.." some of the enclosures read. "Shop 'till you drop," says another. If only one honest gift giver would write, "I didn't take the time to look at your list and make an effort to actually purchase a gift," would gift card mania end? Not likely.
In our world of fast paced living, gift cards are here to stay. Personally, I like them. You walk in, slap down your piece of plastic, and leave with the goods. The best part.. no bill the next month to remind you of your shopping frenzy. The part I don't like about gift cards is that they can potentially seem impersonal. I think the key is in the presentation.
I've been fortunate to be on the receiving end of a number of gift cards this holiday. The first card I received was given to me in a white envelope (the ones that come pre-printed with lines for your return address) and my name scribbled across the front of it with an ink pen that didn't quite work well. Another card was put into a nice cellophane window box, with the gift card showing through.. glitter outlined the window with the words "have fun shopping" written underneath. Oh.. the tissue inside the box coordinated with the color of the gift card.
Both are nice gifts.. but one was presented in a way that showed they truly wanted to take an extra moment to make that piece of printed plastic special. A white envelope with pre-printed return address lines?? I didn't think they even made them anymore.
Gift cards are great... However, when is the best time to use them? Do you use them to catch the after Christmas sales? Do you wait to use them when the Spring merchandise hits the shelves? What's best?
Gift cards are great... However, do you keep them all in your wallet or purse so you have them readily available for a short notice trip to the mall? Do you keep them filed in a small organizer box so you can pull one or two out for a planned shopping trip? What's the best way to keep and organize your gift cards?
I guess for most people, gift cards are self explanatory. I just think merchants who offer the cards should also offer presentation seminars for those that give and usage seminars for those that receive. A nice service touch I believe.
I say all this in a tongue-n-cheek manner only because I was amazed at the number of gift cards I was given this year. Have we gotten to the point where we are far too busy to take a moment to shop? I can't imagine it. Life without shopping? Shoot me now.