Quick rant against gift cards

By   |  July 15, 2008

Gift cards are absurd and ridiculous, and in that order. As if our commodity-driven lives need yet another milestone icon of consumerism, the popularity of gift cards seems to have soared off the charts in recent years.

Gift cards are merely the latest evolution of an age-old concept known as scrip, a practice where tokens or certificates are used in place of actual value or currency. Such practices used to be initiated only in dire situations like remote coal towns or countries being occupied during a time of war. Other occassions included the military who wanted to prevent black markets from springing up or various cheapass companies who want to concoct a sort of cyclical internal loyalty by “allowing” employees to cash in payment scrip for goods at regulated company stores. (And of course we can’t forget the huge yet shortlived 1990’s trend of using scrip for school fundraisers.)

All to say, scrip was never particularly desirable. “Ain’t nothing like cash in the pocket!” is how the saying used to go. But these days, oh how things have changed. After corporate America discovered the unending benefits of tricking consumers into obsessing over scrip and gift cards, the pace has sped up exponentially.

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Partial list of ways corporations steal money by pushing a “gift card culture”:

And of course, this entire sham is pushed under slogans like “Giftcards.com – always the perfect gift!”… more like “always the perfect way to be a lazy consumerist American who has lost all creativity and self-worth and deserves to be swiped up the arse with a gift card because they are stupid enough to fall for retarded marketing gimmicks that tell them that being a sincere friend involves an impulsive gift card purchase at the grocery checkout.”

Is thinking of a unique, useful gift for someone that you are close to really that hard these days? And dare I mention making your own birthday card?

Stop buying gift cards, America! You’s turnin’ into a bunchafuckin’ robots!

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2 Comments on “Quick rant against gift cards”  (RSS)

  1. Precisely. Give me money and I’ll be a much happier camper. Gift cards are just a way of stores trapping money so that you have to spend it there; and if you don’t spend it by a certain date, they have the authority to take the money right out of the card.

    Ingenious, if you think about it.

  2. I won’t even tell you the gift cards I have sitting around my house right now unused because 1) I would have to actually spend more than what is on the card to get something useful and 2) I never frequent those stores. They are always associated with guilt and pressure as I wonder how much longer the store in question will remain in business (Sharper Image, anyone?).

    I agree: Cash is King. (And for anyone who’s wondering, Euros and/or Pounds are preferred. ;) )

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