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Gift cards can be a bad idea.

Gift cards can be a bad idea. So goes the argument at the Retail Stores blog. Where the writer says:-
“I think it is safe for us to say that we are definitely in some sort of a recession. The retail sector of the economy is one that has been hit the hardest. One of my favorite gifts to give in the past when I slack off from bargain hunting is a gift card. They require little effort to get, and everyone likes to get a gift card from their favorite store. This year you should refrain from buying gift cards for anyone on your shopping list.

Many of your favorite retail stores are doing some major downsizing or even going out of business in the coming months. If you purchase gift cards and a store closes, then your gift card recipient cannot redeem their gift. Even if the retailer just closes a few locations, there is a chance that your gift card recipient may not be able to find a location that is close enough to drive to.”

My take is that there is some merit to the argument. However some outlets differ. The article is talking about chain stores that are poised for recovery but are about to make that recovery even stronger by cutting out dead wood. The recovery does appear to be on our doorsteps (see the Financial Post blog titled ‘
Canada adds surprising 108,700 jobs in April’.

Therefore it is more a question of how convenient the gift card is if the local store has closed. At About Canada we will redeem gift cards in store or by post. Soon our physical cards will be able to bought in store but redeemed online, like the e-Gift cards that we sell.

So in summary, in my opinion, gift cards are not a bad idea in themselves. Most gift cards are still a great gift. Only those gift cards that are going to be redeemed physically but there is no way for the recipient to visit the store fall into the category where it might not be a good present.

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