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November 28, 2007

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#1 and 3 are applicable for us. My wife got a Crate & Barrel gift card ($10) last year for Christmas from a parent at her pre-school. We've been twice now and can't find anything we like. Another factor is that the only Crate & Barrel in St. Louis is about 25 minutes from our house in an area we don't frequently shop at. She recently "found" a few other cards she got last year as well and we are slowing spending those....finally.

My wife loses gift cards all the time. It drives me crazy. To her credit she does usually find them but this provides an opportunity for them to expire. Frequently if we do not find something we like we use a gift card to buy a gift for someone else. It is essentially regifting without the possibility of giving the present back to the person who bought it for you.

People get gift cards for stores they don't frequently shop at.

You buy gift cards from what? Radio Shack or Wal-Mart might make sense but buying ppl gifts cards from some oddball store near YOUR home is very uncool

why don't people use gift cards? because most people are hoarders...

Mike O --

We use either Meijer (a local superstore) or Target. We figure most people can get to either one of those.

I'd classify myself as a #4. In the past when I was given a gift card I would want to save it for something "special", but I could never decide what something special was. Fortunately for me, I don't get a lot of gift cards (and I'm getting much better about using them when I do).

Mike O - Radio Shack? That seems like a pretty specialized store to buy a gift card from.

I've done all four, but I'd guess that #1 and #2 are the most common.

why not just give cash?

I didn't use a pottery barn gift certificate (not card) for 5 years. It was a wedding present. At the time, we didn't live near a pottery barn. When we finally moved to a town with one, everything was so expensive we couldn't afford anything. Thankfully they don't have an expiration date.

Finally on our 5 year anniversary I found something in their catalog for near the price range. I actually snail mailed the order form. It still costed us $25 out of our pockets.

My step mother never used the Netflix gift subscription I bought her. She didn't want to give them a credit card number. So I actually recently rebought her another gift and traded it for the subscription before it expired.

So I would add #5 Strings attached. Maybe the store isn't near them, or a credit card is required for the purchase.

i dont buy gift cards for anyone for reason being gifts are supposed to be "from your heart" how impersonal can we get???? when i open a card with a giftcard inside i immediatly get disapointed that the person didnt even care to get a gift at all. yes i realize maybe they didnt know what to get me but come on perhaps a movie , a book , anything at all!!! i refuse to get giftcards its the lazy way out. i would rather go do the leggwork and get something from me as opposed to a piece of plastic.

Another case is using some of it, but not all. It is nearly impossible to use all of a gift card without also paying some of your own money. For this reason, I never use up all of a gift card unless it is a store I shop at anyway. I am not about to spend my own money to use a gift card at some store I wouldn't otherwise shop at.

#3 and #6 using it would mean I have to spend additional money to get something I really do want.

It would be better if they give us cash instead of gift cards. Everyone is sure to spend cash and won't forget about it. And gift cards... I often lose them..

I think an important point is that a gift card should ALWAYS be enough to cover the AVERAGE cost of an item from that store. It's irritating to get a gift card for $25 to somewhere like Nordstrom or Pottery Barn, where the only thing you can buy for that amount is a tube of lipstick or a single napkin ring. Many gift cards stay in my wallet for months on end because using them would require me to spend money!

I will promtly use and enjoy gift cards to Starbucks or iTunes though. Those are things I don't like to splurge on with my own money, and a small gift card of $10 is enough for several purchases--and I can always find something I like.

I think people don't use gift cards because they are a hassle to carry around just in the case that you visit the store it belongs to and because they often forget. When I have a gift card or store credit, I forget to take it with me about 2 out of 3 times I visit the store, and about 50% of the time, I forget to use it even if I have it in my wallet.

The general use gift cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover) are better because they can be used many places (but have many problems) but are nearly worthless if they have a low balance.

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