A SERIOUS LOOK AT THE POLITICS OF GIFT CARDS
Posted by Catherine Morgan on January 15, 2007
Gift cards have done for the shopping, what channel changers did for the television. For the younger generation, who may not remember the days of having to get off the couch to change the channel on your television, the gift card is doing for the shopper, what the Wireless Internet has done for the lap-top. Another words, we lived without gift cards before, but we could never go back to the dark days of no gift cards now. There is just no turning back.
It is clear, that gift cards have changed the face of shopping for the better. No more wasting time and energy trying to find a “thoughtful” gift for someone. Just get them a gift card and you’re all set. Everyone is happy, both the gifter and the gifted. And gone are the days of “re-gifting” and the “re-gifter”. In the future, our grand-kids will be watching re-runs of “Seinfeld” in total confusion.
We can not live without gift cards. We all love them. We all buy them. We all use them. Those are just the facts. But, what are the politics? The politics are the “dark-side” of the gift card industry, or what “they” don’t want you to know.
Let me be serious for a minute, after all I did call this post “A SERIOUS LOOK AT THE POLITICS OF GIFT CARDS”. Gift cards are a multi-billion dollar industry. This year consumers will spend more than twenty-five billion dollars in gift cards, but an estimated five to twenty-five percent of these cards will never be used. Leaving the companies to profit enormously, without lifting a finger. According to a recent AP report, Best Buy reported a 43 million dollar profit from cards that were purchased but not used in the last two years. And they are not alone. Millions of us receive gift cards during the holidays, and many of us will never use them.
As consumers we can not let this continue. It is our responsibility to use these gift cards and not allow companies to profit from literally selling us nothing. Since most of these companies have web-sites for at home shopping, I would suggest using them as soon as possible so you don’t forget.
So, go check your desk drawer and your wallet right now, get on-line, and use that card. Don’t let it go unused. And if you really aren’t going to use it, consider donating it to a charity or needy person in your neighborhood.
Let’s stop giving hand-outs to multi-billion dollar companies, when we have over 744,000 homeless people in our country.