General Question

Whattodo's avatar

What kind of gift card do you like best?

Asked by Whattodo (104points) July 12th, 2008

Is giving someone a gift card ever a bad idea?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

25 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

I like receiving ones for bookstores.

I like to give them. My ex-girlfriend didn’t like receiving one for a valentines day gift. YMMV

TheHaight's avatar

I just bought a movie gift card for someone today. Going to the movie theater is so expensive these days, so a gift card could be really helpful. The best gift card I got was to my college’s bookstore! Books are so overpriced, so that was very helpful to me.

[I don’t think its a bad idea at all, but I would agree with JPs ex-girlfriend that I would not want one from my boyfriend on valentines day :) ]

eambos's avatar

They make American Express gift cards that can be used anywhere an AmEx credit card can be used. That would be the best choice if you are unsure of what the person wants to buy. Also, it is safer than giving cash.

TheHaight's avatar

Another one I would love right now is a gas gift card. Gas is crazy expensive right now… But i agree with Eambos, an American express gift card is easy and safe.

dragonflyfaith's avatar

Personal ones are nice, like for someone who likes books (but you don’t know what they already have or want) a card for a bookstore, maybe a spa card for a busy or stressed friend and so on.

On the other hand, every Christmas my family does a secret Santa and most years we end up with the same people and one cousin always gets me a Wal-Mart card. The generic ones just seem like you don’t know the person or don’t care to find out what that person enjoys.

babygalll's avatar

I don’t think it’s ever a bad idea to give gift cards. It’s always a plus when you get them one for their favorite store. Every now and then my boss puts a Starbucks gift card in with my paycheck. I like receiving them, but I get annoyed when people get them to places I don’t shop or places that are far from where I live. Make sure they have the same store near by.

syz's avatar

I love getting gift cards – I actually ask my familty for gift cards from Home Depot or Lowes for Christmas when they ask what I want. I can use them on my projects and it helps me finish those things that make me happy.

Babo's avatar


jlm11f's avatar

It depends on the person. I know some of my friends feel giving a gift card isn’t personal enough and implies you didn’t put much thought in the gift. But then some of them love gift cards and ask only for that because they hate having extra junk and would prefer spending the money on something they know they would enjoy. So you might want to find out what category your gift recipient falls in before giving a gift card. I think gift cards are great and gives me a reason to go shop without feeling guilty! They are also a valuable resource for professional relationships. As for what kind I like best, I would have to go with a gift card for food. I don’t always need clothes, but people always need food. And I don’t mean “Walmart” or any grocery kind of gift card. I mean, perhaps a gift card for Olive Garden or any such chain restaurant that you know your recipient has access to in their town.

Edit – Book giftcards is also a good idea, but I don’t use them/give them as much since my local library is pretty fantastic and I don’t like to buy books unless I have already read them and decided that they are one of those “classic” books that I would want to read again and again. Buying books instead of borrowing from the library is just an unnecessary waste of space IMO, especially if you move around as much as I do. Maybe when I am ready to settle into my own house years from now, I can build my own library room

PupnTaco's avatar

It may seem impersonal, but giving someone a gift they may not want or need is a waste for both. If I’m not sure about a gift, a Visa gift card has never been disliked by the recipient.

tinyfaery's avatar

I try to get gift cards that give a person something they would enjoy, but never actually go out and do/buy for themselves. For instance, I have a friend who’s back always hurts, so I got her a gift certificate for a massage. She would never have just gone out and paid for it on her own. She was very appreciative.

marinelife's avatar

I guess I am the lone voice of dissent. My objection to gift cards is that they represent a huge bonus for America’s retailers. From 2006 numbers:

“Problem is, of the $80 billion in gift cards purchased last year, experts estimate that $8 billion (some 10%) will never be redeemed—an amount that dwarfs credit- and debit-card fraud together, according to the New York Times.”

The terms are muchmore favorable to them than consumers. Usually, you cannot get the unspent portion back in cash. They have deadlines. It’s really bogus.

tinyfaery's avatar

I thought there was some sort of legislation regarding gift cards. Maybe just in CA.

AstroChuck's avatar

I love receiving gift cards as presents. It gives me an opportunity to buy something frivolous for myself without feeling the guilt. My favorites are amazon. com, iTunes, various restaurants, and electronic store (Circuit City/Best Buy) cards.

AstroChuck's avatar

Yes. California law states that retailers that distribute gift cards cannot charge a fee for using your card. I notice many gift cards state that if you don’t use the card for a year, or some other length of time, you have to pay a fee to reactivate it. Fortunately, this does’nt apply here in CA. The only cards that can expire are those given away by the business, usually done as a promotion.

tinyfaery's avatar

Thank you AC.

Adina1968's avatar

I love book store gift cards. It is so fun to go book shopping without it costing you any money! I love to read so obviously I like them best.

arnbev959's avatar

Frankly, I’d rather get cash.

The occasional bookstore gift card is nice for those books that I can’t find anywhere else, but I usually buy my books from used bookstores, library book sales, or garage sales for cheap.

I hate gift cards for clothing stores. I always end up selling them to friends (say, a $25 card for $15) just to get rid of them. All I wear is t-shirts and jeans, and I buy those when they’re on sale.

To answer the question: the kind of gift card I like best is one for an art store, because are supplies are really expensive.

lovelyy's avatar

Getting a gift card let’s them know they won’t have to pretend to like a present or even stand in line to return it. Anyway I love getting gift cards to Books A Million and Target.

melly6708's avatar

itunes… best buy.. olive garden. or other restaurants…..OR one of those credit card gift cards are cool.. you can go to many stores.

sccrowell's avatar

American Express, Visa, Mastercard, then I can go or buy anything I want.

shrubbery's avatar

I love getting book “gift cards” (we call them gift vouchers in Aus). Everyone knows that I love books but they don’t always know what I am into at particular time, so book vouchers are the perfect thing for me.

breedmitch's avatar

For my best friend’s birthday this year I got him 5 cheap birthday cards and in each I put a gift card to a place he shops. The amounts got progressively larger. He was a little perplexed when I gave him the first one at dinner: a $10 gift card to Starbucks. Every half hour thereafter I gave him another one and by the third he had begun to catch on. The last was a $50 card to his favourite comic book store.
This way I got the ease of quick shopping, and also let him know I put a lot of thought into it.

nocountry2's avatar

Just wondering – how is giving an American Express gift card any different than just giving cash?

chatnoir's avatar

I like ones that look, feel and smell like crisp $50. bills!

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