Gift Cards Are Impersonal

One day before Christmas, I was in Target and noticed 15 people standing around the gift card display, urgently grabbing handfuls of gift cards for their friends and family. Many selections were available, including movie theaters, outdoor sports stores, and even the International House of Pancakes. These people couldn't be bothered to go to different places to get the gift cards. No. They were located in one store, so they could do all of their shopping in 10 minutes.

The holidays season reminds me how much I hate gift cards. Giving someone a gift card, for any occasion, tells the person you are too busy for them. You don't have the time to think about what the person could use or what they need. Instead, you can conveniently go to a big box store and purchase a gift card for anywhere you choose.

We have the most amazing technologies at our fingertips, but we choose not to use it. We can use sites like Amazon, Facebook, and Pinterest to find items a person needs, wants, or enjoys. With all of this information at our disposal, We choose not to spend our own time finding an item the person would appreciate, so we purchase a gift card.

A gift card demonstrates how much we love the person we're giving the gift to. It doesn't matter what the occasion, if it's a birthday or a holiday, a gift card is saying we don't have time for a friend, spouse, or relative.

If you care about the person, take the time to think through what the person would enjoy receiving. If you spend just a few minutes searching for the person online, I'm sure you can identify a gift the person would want.

But, what if the person doesn't like what you get them?

Gift receipts act just like gift cards, but demonstrate you've thought about the person you are shopping for. If they don't like what you purchase them, include a gift receipt so they can return it and get something else. By including the gift receipt in the box you're telling them it's okay to return this and buy something you want instead.

We've created technology to save time and enable us to do things we want to do. Let's show the people we care about that they mean something to us and stop purchasing gift cards.

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Written: December 29, 2012