Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Gift Card Copout

As I get into the Christmas spending spree I think there is a common trend that is starting to irritate me. There is joy in buying someone a gift and wrapping it for them. There is care and love that goes into it. There is fun in the wonder if the receiver will like the gift, whether it will fit or not, or if it matches. I think that is part of the whole Christmas fun.

Now though when I request Christmas lists from family members there is growing trend to simply name the stores they would like gift cards too. Gift cards are great when you are doing a dirty Santa or have to give a gift to a person you don’t know well. It is a good way of saying, “I think you are worth $25 to the Gap. I choose the Gap because you wear their clothes all the time.” Or, “I think you need to wear more of their clothes.”

Now every store, from the Gap, to Home Depot, to Starbucks, to McDonalds, to Sonic, all have gift cards available. It is the perfect way to force someone to spend your money at their store, but how much love is involved in this process?

This year I have a person I am purchasing gifts for who only asked for gift cards. This person only wants gifts cards to the Home Depot. Here is my major problem. I love the Home Depot and I love spending time and money at the Home Depot. WHAT IS S/HE WANTS AT THE HOME DEPOT?? How about giving me a list of what you would like. I might get it for you for Christmas! Do you want a cordless drill, a new sander, some pipes or lumber? What is it you want?

That is the major copout though. When a person asks for a Christmas list they are looking to help you fulfill your desires in life. That person wants to get you something you want (not necessarily need, but want). To only list gift cards is simply robbing that person from the Christmas experience. It is a lazy person's way of creating a Christmas because it takes absolutly no thought at all. It turns Christmas into a money exchange. I give a person $50 to spend at Home Depot and they give me $50 to spend at Best Buy.

Next Christmas I am going simply hand them $50 bill and say Merry Christmas! Or maybe we simply keep the $50 and tell each other what we bought for ourselves with it. Whooped-E-Do!

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