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August 28, 2008


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I can sometimes find some good deals at Macy's, but a lot of the time it's not worth the hassle. I have a Macy's credit card and occasionally receive discount cards in the mail. Trouble is, you can't use them on any name brand - the fine print never allows me to get something I actually like or want. And forget paying full price for any of their merchandise.

"If I did want to buy one of the items they had, I could get it for at least half price somewhere else."

Isn't this right! Bed Bath & Beyond will usually have the same items as at Macy's, but for $20 less, plus you can use a 20% coupon to bring the cost down further.

Your wife wears no makeup at all?

Or, not to make too personal a suggestion, but they probably carry whatever brand of (everyday) lingerie she prefers. That's about all I use Macy's for.

Have to agree with you for the most part. I think the last thing I bought at Macy's was a couple ties that were on sale for $5 each this spring. But I generally avoid shopping there. Too expensive for are most mall department stores.

I miss Meijer! I used to live in Dayton and Cincinnati, OH and they were great. I now live on the east coast and there aren't any here.

I too hate Macy's. Ours used to be Kaufmann's, and although they were usually out of my price range, their sales were outstanding! Since changing to Macy's none of the brands I used to buy are there, and it seems that everything is unfamiliar and over-priced. I too had a gift card. I was finally able to use all but about $1.80, which they will not give you, it stays on the card. About the mailings, I also have a charge card, but, rarely use it. Friends have told me you get good coupons WHEN you use your card, but, I maintain, they need to send out the coupons to get you to USE the card. It could drop off the face of the earth and I would not miss it.

I know the supposed benefit of gift cards is "everyone gets exactly what they love" but I think that's largely a perception invented by the stores. It's really the retailers that get what they love: more people through the doors/home page, more money spent, and fewer return hassles.

As you've pointed out, even very general gift cards for department stores (Macy's, Kohls) or places "everyone" goes (Best Buy, Target) might not work. I've received Best Buy cards I don't know how often because "every guy loves that place!" but I was born without that gadgetophile gene most guys have. All I can think to do with them is buy smoke alarm batteries, and it's out of the way even for that!

For people I don't know well enough to be SURE what gift card they will like, I prefer things like a nice, big floral arrangement or a gift basket-type thing. There's no wrong size, color, or style because they're temporary. If you don't like smoked kippers you can give those away and keep the chocolate, and if you aren't partial to tulips, well, in a week they're compost for your roses anyway. The recipient doesn't have to feel guilty about throwing the gift out or storing some hideous thing, the giver isn't offended when the monstrosity isn't proudly displayed on the mantle three months later, and there's no awkward hemming and hawing about "saving it for something special" when asked "so what neat thing did you get with that Mort's Plumbing Supply gift card I gave you?" (because after all, who doesn't have plumbing?)

I don't have any Macys since leaving NYC, but agree for the most part. We have a similar not-cheap not-expensive dept store here in Toronto called the Bay, for which I have a gift card burning a hole in my bag right now! My suggestion? If the shower gels etc at the beauty counters are unacceptable, just get something necessary but unexciting - socks or undies or a t-shirt for the gym or something. Well, unless we're talking about a $500 gift card. You'll be waiting a long time to find what you want, and in the meantime may lose or forget about the card. Your friend wanted you to get something nice, so get the nicest socks you can find there!

I love Macy's! They are one of the only stores to have a great clothing section for the plus size girl. They have awesome clothes and awesome sales. I only buy from the sales rack from last season and end up having an awesome work attire because of it!!

Although I do totally agree about gift cards. Unless they are really general you may be wasting your money. I got a 50 gift card to starbucks from my boss last christmas...I don't even drink coffee or tea!! Oh well, I gave it to my sister in law.

Sarah --

She doesn't wear much makeup. But, oooooooo, lingerie. Nice idea! ;-)

What's even worse with gift cards is the simply fact is busy people who lead busy lives tend to forget they have a gift card. Upon finding an unused card, the giftee rushes to the store only to find their balance has been reduced due to fees or worse - the card has expired.

Gift cards, in theory, are a good idea for gift gifting as it allows the giftee to get someting they need. However, forgetting about the cards or, as your post mentioned, getting stuck with a card you can't use, is a waste of money.

By the way - I vote for your buying gifts for others with your Macy's card. That way the friend who gave you the card technically bought you a great gift - Presents for others!!

dcs: I'm the kind of gadget-loving guy who should theoretically love Best Buy, but I hate that place because they do anything but live up to their name. It's hard to think of anything they sell that I couldn't get a better deal online. The only exception is Black Friday.

The only kind of gift card I would actually like is one to Amazon. But that's not necessary because their wish list feature is a better alternative anyway.


Here's my idea for disposing of the gift card: give it back to the same friend next year for Christmas!

The parent company of Macy's went on a buying binge a couple of years ago and re-branded a bunch of smaller dept stores to Macy's. I've noticed that store quality varies greatly based on where the store is and which chain it used to be. Hopefully you'll have better luck in Chicago.

I agree that it's a great place for basics like lingerie and other unmentionables. I also really like their home store with kitchen equipment and bed/bath stuff. They have a larger selection than BBB/L&T and the prices in my experience are about the same for name-brand items (e.g. cookware).

The Macy's here in Chicago is huge and does have all kinds of stuff. Be prepared though, because the Macy's stores here carry a lot more high-end clothing than the ones in smaller towns.

There are two huge Macy's. If you're going to the one right in the Loop (central downtown district) you might want to check and see if you can use the gift card at The Walnut Room (their restaurant). It's kind of a Chicago tradition to eat at the Walnut especially if the Christmas decorations are already up.

Here's an experience I had with a gift card. Very little in that store appealed to me, but the card had an expiration date, and I didn't want its value to disappear.

I finally selected some curtains. After the sales tax, they ended up costing a bit more than the card's value. So I paid with both the gift card and a little extra cash.

But after taking them home, they didn't match very well with the rest of the room, so I took them back.

They gave me a refund all in cash! This meant there was no more expiration date to worry about, and I could go spend it elsewhere. So perhaps that's another alternative.

Here is what I do if I have a GC from Macy's, and this only works if you have a Macy's CC also. Purchase an item with your GC, then return it and but the credit on your CC. Then call to get a credit balance refund, and ta

only things i've ever found to use random macy's gift cards on have been crocs from the website in different styles and colors than just the standard ones found everywhere. they still run a bit more than other options on them, and even for that matter.... but it got the cards spent.

Macy's is one of the few places where I can buy clothes to fit me for a reasonable price and that won't fall apart quickly. I am a very petite woman and can't shop for business clothes in very many places without spending a bloody fortune. I love it when I get Macy's gift cards from the family for Christmas - it just doesn't happen often enough!

Why? I don't wear makeup too. And I am an entertainer. I just prefer a clean look.

Now, I don't hate high end stores, even I never shop there. To me they are museums, sometimes, theaters of absurd.

A design junkie, I love good shoes. Mine are bought at Miami's "All Shoes $3.99" Store" Their shoes are beautiful and just as good or better than those of department stores. LOL..

Many of the Macy's I've seen in Michigan are former Marshall Fields. I'd tend to agree that their stuff is rather overpriced, but I usually don't factor that in when I have a gift card. It's a gift after all, and my best option is to use the money in that store. It's not like I can keep it and save it for a rainy day... unless I spend my rainy day's at Macy's.

As for gift cards, I only buy gift cards I know someone will want/use. I'll buy Sephora and Apple iTunes gift cards for my sister, Best Buy for my brothers, Home Depot or maybe a restaurant for my dad. I at least try to have a good idea what stores people shop at before buying. Otherwise, I might as well just write a check.

The problem isn't gift cards though. It's the people who give gift cards so 'they don't have to think of something.' Many people do the same with regular presents. I have an aunt and uncle that cause a yearly after christmas trip to goodwill!

In general, if you don't know what to get someone, just get them a nice card. I would rather receive nothing than a truly awful or inappropriate gift or giftcard. If you 'have' to get them something, find someone that does know what they might like. I received a present I loved from a couple I barely knew at the time. They had consulted with my fiancee beforehand.

As this post demonstrates, even 'generic' gifts/cards can backfire. Some people probably think the same thing about the Meijer cards as you think about the Macy's card (I would). I hate getting soaps and candles (and so do many other women I know).

Gift giving has degenerated into a consumeristic spending spree, instead of the thoughtful kindness it should be.

I would never buy anything at regular price (or even sale price) at Macy's, but they have pretty good clearance deals if you happen to catch one at the right time. I've gotten shirts there for $3-$5 before!

Jenny is exactly right: Macy's stores vary in quality and selection according to the demographics and the size of specific buildings. The one near me is an overpriced junk shop; in a downsizing strategy, a couple years ago management closed departments that carried the few goods I was interested in buying there. Occasionally you can get an OK purse at a discount...but you can do lots better at Dillard's. The lingerie selection is limited and annoying.

If it were me, I'd try to unload the card on e-Bay or Craig's List.

I bought clothes on sale at Macy's for less than one can find in Target. Expensive stores like Macy's often have great clearance sales. Does your wife need at least one evening gown? I bought one at Macy's for $40, and it looked "expensive". Any summer clothes? I'd imagine if they still have any left, now all the expensive designer summer clothes will be on sale at a fraction of the price. If it is too late, you may wait for the next sale.

Use the "price check" points they have to check the actual price, often the price tag doesn't reflect the latest sale price. It happened to me that I picked up an item for $40 sales price only to find out at the counter that with the latest discounts the actual price was $15.

I just bought a beautiful down winter coat, on sale, for $60. It was exactly what I was looking for and took me about 15 minutes to walk into Macy's, try a about 5 or 6 coats on, pay for it, and leave. I'm still super siked about it! I have been looking for years for a new coat and finally found one I really like for a great price. I always find good sale stuff at Macy's. I like to look there for Christmas party clothes (the few times I've bought that!). Wouldn't pay the regular price though.

Macy's have very good clearance sale especially if you are going to charge it o your macys credit card! My problem is their gift cards. WHY CANT THE CUSTOMERS USE THE STORE COUPONS WHEN BUYING WITH THE GIFT CARD? The gift cards are bought at their face value, I think its just fair that customers buying with gift cards should be treated the same as the ones paying with cash or credit.

I just think it's completely ridiculous that few Macy's sell maternity clothing. Do they think pregnant people don't like clothes, that they don't shop, or need to wear clothes? A friend of mine was going to use a gift card she received from Macy's to take me maternity shopping (mostly because she hates Macy's) and now I guess it won't happen, because according to their website, they don't have maternity clothes in Vancouver, Washington which is understandable, because it's not a huge city, but they also don't have any in Portland, Oregon. Portland is a reasonably large city, I'm pissed.

OH boo-hoo, we have a full gift card we cant use. Get over yourselves. There are bigger problems in the world.

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