Generally, gift cards have the reputation of being the best option for a present. How can you go wrong? You pick a store you know the person likes and he or she gets to do some shopping. Fun!
But – there’s always a “but” – sometimes, a gift card isn’t the best idea. In the following scenarios, we wouldn’t suggest a gift card.
- The gift-receiver hates getting gift cards. What! People can hate getting gift cards? Yes, sadly, this is true. A certain portion of the population believes gift cards show a lack of consideration or thoughtfulness. If you know your recipient may hold this opinion or something similar, it’s safer getting something else. If you don’t know what to get, ask the recipient’s family, friends, or co-workers. Or ask the person casually about his interests! If all else fails, you can always stalk the Facebook profile.
- The receiver doesn’t need anything. This sometimes happens with weddings and commitment ceremonies. Though it is normal practice for the engaged couple to set up a gift registry, they may already have everything they need. In this case, a gift card to Bed Bath and Beyond or Williams Sonoma will most likely end up unused (or sold to us). Some couples set up honeymoon registries so you can chip in on different activities they can do on their honeymoon. If you’re not into that, donate in their name to their favorite charity or a cause you know they care about.
- It’s your wedding/exclusive relationship/first kiss/first date/etc. anniversary. Remember scenario #1, where the gift-receiver hates gift cards because they show a lack of consideration? Gift cards for these situations are clearly signs of thoughtlessness. There are exceptions, of course: for example, your partner loves clothes but has a difficult time finding things that fit. You can’t just grab any old thing off the rack. Here, I would say a gift card is acceptable if accompanied with a small thoughtful token because you have kept in mind your significant other’s likes, dislikes, and problems. Otherwise, gift cards are much too impersonal for these romantic dates.
Photo source: JD Hancock