Gift Cards as a Present: Is it a Good Practice?
Have you ever sent or received a gift card?
A gift card is a virtual payment tool which does not consist in money, but in a prepaid card you can use to buy items from a specific shop (we are often talking about chains). One of the most famous examples of gift cards are Amazon ones: if you choose to give an Amazon card as a present, the recipient will be able to make purchases through the popular e-commerce website just by using this card, until it expires or balance is completely spent.
An Easy Way to Give a Present
Gift cards are actually the simplest way to give a present to someone: by choosing to give a card as a present you are not going to spend time in trying to guess what kind of clothes your friend may love or what kind of books does he like. You just give a card as a present and then your friend is able to buy the things he wants just by using this card. This simplifies a lot your life, but is it a good practice to give a card to your friend instead of choosing the present for him?
Should Gift Cards Be Avoided?
If giving a gift card is not a good idea when talking about your best friends and when considering special recurrencies like Christmas or birthday, it may actually be a great one for other situations: for example, whenever someone made something for you and you feel the need to thank him and show appreciation for his efforts. In this case a gift card is a great solution, as you are not making a special present, something to be remembered for a special recurrency: you are just thanking your friend.
Gift Cards as Saving Options
Gift cards may actually be used also in an unconventional way: instead of considering them as “gifts” (just like their name means), they can also be used as a saving option in order to better manage your money and eventually getting also some benefits. For example, if you spend much money in books, purchasing a $100 gift card for a bookshop chain and keeping it for the future means having just reserved a specific amount of money for books: other money are used for other things and your payments are much better organized. You should also consider you may get benefits from special offers like “give $100 gift card to a friend and get $25 discount for your purchases”, so that you are even going to save money: this may also a great solution, nobody should care about the fact you are officially making a gift to yourself!
A Simple Solution
By choosing to give a gift card you are actually saving time (as you are not going to spend hours in selecting the appropriate gift for your friend. You just know he loves books? Well, a $50 gift card for a bookshop is the best gift. You know nothing about your friend? No problem: an Amazon gift card makes anyone happy, but coming to this solution, situation is not much different from just giving money. Giving a birthday or Christmas present is not just a formal act: it is also a way to demonstrate you care about your friend. How can be a friendship be good if you do not know your friend’s preferences? How can it be good if you are not willing to spend time in choosing something your friend will remember in the future?
A true friendship deserves some time. Your friend will be much happier if he receives something he feels you have spent time to choose, even if it may not be the best gift for him. If you give a book or a T-shirt, your friend will always think about you every time he sees it. What about an anonymous gift card he is going to use and throw away after it is expired? Every object he will purchase with the gift card officially chosen by him: you only put money. There will be no association with you and the items he will purchase: it’s just like sending money to your friend! That is a very consumistic and formal way of considering a gift for someone, which does not consider the fact a given object is not just a material thing: it’s also a symbolic thing you are willing to keep (that’s the reason why also a broken phone may be kept, if it still has symbolic value).
© 2017 Alessio Ganci