General Question

arturodiaz's avatar

Do you believe gift cards are a good present?

Asked by arturodiaz (553points) May 11th, 2009

I found gift cards very impersonal. Here in Mexico they have not popularized at all. People does not like them. Maybe because things take a little longer to take off here or maybe because the culture is different.

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35 Answers

El_Cadejo's avatar

Removed by me….

im an idiot and thought it was about cards for some reason….

Dansedescygnes's avatar

Personally, I love getting gift cards. It’s better than getting something I won’t like; I usually only get them from people I don’t know that well. And that seems to be a common reason for getting them—you can give them to anyone and don’t have to really know what that person likes or doesn’t like. For those situations, it’s better than giving the person nothing. If all I got was gift cards, then yeah, it would be a little weird. But I’m not going to complain because one of my uncles who doesn’t know me that well gets me an Amazon gift card for Christmas. Most of what I get for Christmas and my birthday is stuff I ask for anyway; it’s hard to get someone something if you don’t tell them what you want, so in that case, a gift card is a better idea.

Jude's avatar

I love gift cards. My family never knows what to get me, especially the “menz”. Love to be able to go when I want and get whatever. :)

SuperMouse's avatar

Huge fan of gift cards right here. Not a big fan of greeting cards in general, @uberbatman summed up my feelings perfectly. But gift cards get a big thumbs up from me!

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Gift certificate cards?

I think it’s a great gift. I don’t have any hangups about this notion of gift cards being an “insincere gift”. It’s still a gift and gifts are wonderful things.

arturodiaz's avatar

Dont you guys feel a warm fuzzy feeling when someone who loves you prepare something special for you? Arent gift cards too cold and pragmatic?

In addition, if gift cards is just money, why not give money in an envelope. That way they can really spend in whatever they want whenever they want. Is not like your fooling anybody.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Yea, i really like gift cards since it allows me to get exactly what i want. Especially with things that are best lift to be picked out by me.
i usually get gift cards for fish stores, while my family knows i really enjoy this stuff, bust i wouldnt trust them to actually pick something out for me.

SeventhSense's avatar

Well some gift cards can be only used at a particular store and that’s not always good. Especially if they can’t be redeemed for cash. But on the other hand your receiver may have an affinity for a certain hobby say Sporting Goods or Cooking. And if you get them a significant monetary amount at say Bass Pro Shops or Williams & Sonoma then that shows that you’ve thoughtfully considered the person. It depends on the gift, the giver and the recipient. But of course it doesn’t replace a nice hand written sentiment to accompany them as well.

Dansedescygnes's avatar


No one is saying they don’t like that, but sometimes when the person may not know you well enough to get you the right thing or may simply just not be good at coming up with ideas, a gift card is an easy and effective solution. What’s the point of getting things that you don’t want or need? You’ll probably just end up giving them away eventually.

Lothloriengaladriel's avatar

gift cards are good for people you don’t know well personally, I think but If you know someone I think its pretty meaningless and shows you were in a rush and probably picked it up on the way over to the party?

casheroo's avatar

I don’t feel giftcards are “cold” at all. It would be if I got one from my husband, but if it’s from my Aunt who has no clue what to get me, then I really appreciate that she didn’t buy me something I would not like and never use.
I like mall gift cards, and bank gift cards the best.

MissAusten's avatar

I love getting gift cards. There are several people in my family (my own parents included) who pick out the worst gifts. My mom seems to believe I like to wear clothing from the Disney Store, and my dad buys things like fake Egyptian vases or a s’mores maker. I’d much rather have a gift card so I can get something I really want, like books. Lots and lots of books.

As for giving gift cards, it totally depends on the person. I’d never give my grandma one because she is pretty limited in where she can go. I’d probably never give my husband one, other than as a stocking-stuffer at Christmas (usually for some kind of coffee place). We give our teen cousins iTunes gift cards at Christmas, since we really have no clue what else they might like.

I think they are only an impersonal choice if you give gift cards all the time, to everyone. They are nice and have their uses, but if, for example, my husband started giving me only gift cards on special occasions I’d have to tell him off for being lazy.

SeventhSense's avatar

That Smores maker sounds groovy :)

jrpowell's avatar

I hate them.. If you don’t want to think about the gift give me some cash. Don’t pick the store I spend it at.

I like a nice picture in a frame. How fucking hard is that?

cookieman's avatar

I loves me some gift cards.

I’ll take cold and pragmatic any day over the sailboat shirt I received that had so much thought put into it

My wife is the only person who knows me well enough to get me a gift.

Everyone else ends up in the re-gift bin.

jrpowell's avatar

So let me open up the shit storm. So getting a gift is about the monetary value? Not the thought. Gotcha.

basp's avatar

It depends on the situation fir me if I give them or not. I like receiving them.
But, I also use them to give to my children fir specific reasons. I’ll get gift cards for the local gas station so they have to purchase gas with it. That way I’m not putting cash in their hand that might get spent elsewhere.

cookieman's avatar

@johnpowell: Nope, it’s exactly about the thought – or lack thereof.

Gifts I have received from folks who are supposedly close to me:

• A Red Sox T-Shirt (I don’t watch sports – never have)
• A Tie (I work on a farm and dress casually 99% of the time)
• A Rap Album (the one music genre I loathe)
• The Book of Mormon (I’m an agnostic)

No one, but my wife (and daughter) take the time to think what might be appropriate for me.

I would rather a nice greeting card – but if they feel obligated to spend any money, go with the gift card.

knitfroggy's avatar

I like getting a nice thoughtful gift, but I ain’t gonna poo poo a nice gift card either.

I’m not good at picking out gifts for some people my dad in particular so I buy him a gift card for his favorite restaurant for his birthday. For Christmas I got him a gift card to the Harley Davidson store. He likes it. He’s hard to buy for because if he wants something, he just goes and buys it.

MissAusten's avatar

@SeventhSense I’m sure it is groovy, but it didn’t come with any fuel, and the correct size of fuel isn’t sold in any stores around here. :( We just use the fire pit in the back yard. What are s’mores without the threat of losing an eyebrow?

SuperMouse's avatar

I gotta go with cprevite on this one. My issue with many of the unique gifts that I have received over the years is that it seems that no thought whatsoever was put into them. To me it is more thoughtful to receive an itunes or Barnes and Noble gift card than to receive something I will never use. A gift card to a store I enjoy is a thoughtful gift. That being said, if someone were to give me a gift card to, say Hooters, I would put that one right up there with the bright purple galoshes I received from my sister-in-law because they were a screaming deal at Payless.

tinyfaery's avatar

Love ‘em. Gift cards are always on my b-day and giftmas lists.

YARNLADY's avatar

@johnpowell I take it you don’t have teen/young adult grandkids on your list. They need to combine the $ gift from both grandma’s and various Aunts and Uncles to buy the expensive gifts they need. My gift of homemade cards(convertable to coasters or wall hangings), with money in it is the closest I’ll get to the “thought” that counts.

cak's avatar

I have a love/hate relationship with giftcards. One, I hate the lack of thought. Two, I find it a bit tacky…the monetary value is right there, some people have this way of letting you know, it’s not enough. Tacky.

I love them for my nephews, nieces, daughter’s friends (teenagers) and my sister. My sister will give you a list of stores she likes and loves a gift card, so she can’t return the gift for money and not actually “get” something. She’s also happy with $5 on up. A dollar would please her.

I actually like picking out gifts, there are some people that a giftcard is about the only way to go…and that frustrates me.

Darwin's avatar

I think you have to consider the person before giving them a gift card. For example, my friends and family know that I love tools and books. Thus a gift card from either Barnes & Noble or Home Depot or Harbor Freight would be a well-thought-out gift for me because you might not know that I already have two orbital sanders but could use new blades for my Sawz-All, or that I just read the latest Kellerman book at the library.

But give me a gift card for Old Navy or The Gap or some other clothing store and I’ll show you someone who Does Not Know Me At All. However, give that same Old Navy or Gap gift card to my daughter and she will bless your name forever. She loves to shop and happily combines the gift card with her babysitting money to get yet another cute outfit or one more pair of shoes (we call her the Blonde Imelda).

It isn’t necessarily a cold gift if properly chosen for the recipient.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

If the recipient bitches about my gift card gifts, I won’t hesitate to take them back.
Complaining about any gift is bad form.

YARNLADY's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic GA. When I hear that a gift receipient does not appreciate my gifts, they do not receive any more.

jrpowell's avatar

@YARNLADY :: I live with my sister and she has three kids (all off them live here,15, and 8 year old twins). I’m not consulting her to make sure we buy matching gift cards. The kids make a list and we get what they want. As long as it is cheap. $50 is about my max for gifts.

My comment was geared towards people that can buy their own stuff. I can buy what I need. So I consider gift cards a lazy gift. Thanks for thinking of me, but acknowledging my love of socks would be better.

YARNLADY's avatar

@johnpowell My young adult grand sons want things like more computer power, which costs in the neighborhood of several hundred dollars. When the grandma’s and the Aunts and Uncles give $50 gift cards each, they can then buy the gift of their choice. My 29 year old son, father of two, on the other hand needs to pay his bills, he appreciates a visa gift card that will allow him to pay what he sees fit, rather than the yet another sweat shirt I might buy him.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@johnpowell Gift cards could be cool though. Like say someone got you a 50 Pabst Gift Card. How fucking cool would that be?

dynamicduo's avatar

I dislike the entire culture around gifts. I am also someone who carefully selects items to reside with me in my house, thus I do not appreciate being given random (and often ugly) gifts. For me, gift cards are practical, but cash would be best. Yes, cash is a bit crude to give as a present, but it’s one step above gift cards, at least I’m free to spend the money elsewhere.

That said, if it gets to the point where you give me $50 and I give you $50, let’s just be honest and call this gift giving off, we can go buy our own presents and exchange the gift of hanging out together with no overhanging requirements or obligations.

cwilbur's avatar

I like gifts that show that the recipient thought about my tastes and that are things I like. I’m not going to be upset that someone got me a gift card instead of a specific gift, just like I’m not going to be upset that someone got me a shirt in a color that looks good in the abstract but makes me look like I have jaundice.

At the same time, I’m a really difficult person to shop for – the things that are likely to delight me are things like books I am interested in but haven’t read already. Those are things you really need to know me well and inspect my bookshelves almost weekly in order to know, and that’s too much to ask for anyone. So a gift card to a store I’m likely to shop at is something I appreciate a lot more than a book I’ve already read, or one I have no interest in.

One of the things that really baffles me, though, is the habit of sending really low-value gift cards. A woman I worked on a volunteer project with a few years back sent me (and everyone else she worked with, apparently) a $5 gift certificate to a small online store, not one I’ve ever shopped at or am likely to shop at. This wasn’t enough to actually buy anything, so I wound up just not using it—in effect, instead of giving me a gift, she gave a $5 donation to the online store.

YARNLADY's avatar

I may be mistaking gift cards with cash cards. Cash cards can be used anywhere, and I favor them over cash money. However, most people here are talking about cards that can only be used in one place.

SeventhSense's avatar

I dislike the entire culture around gifts. I am also someone who carefully selects items to reside with me in my house, thus I do not appreciate being given random (and often ugly) gifts.

You must be a real hoot during the holidays. I guess this guy is just pure evil huh?

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