November 16, 2007

See Dennis, I Told You So

And now Seth Godin has agreed with me as well!

Here's the key paragraphs:

Last year, more than $8,000,000,000 was wasted on these cards. Not in the value spent, but in fees and breakage. When you give a card, if it doesn't get used, someone ends up keeping your money, and it's not the recipient. People spent more than eight billion dollars for nothing... buying a product that isn't as good as cash. Along the way, we bought the story that giving someone a hundred dollar bill as a gift ("go buy what you want") is callous, insensitive, a crass shortcut. Buying them a $100 Best Buy card, on the other hand, is thoughtful. Even if they spend $92 and have to waste the rest.

The interesting thing about stories is that the inconsistent ones don't always hold up to scrutiny. Consumer Reports and others are trying to spread a different story. One that sounds like this:

Gift cards are for chumps.

If enough people talk about this new story, people will be embarrassed to give a gift card. It's a waste. It's a scam. It's a trap for the recipient. The irony is that the gift card companies could easily spend, say, half the profits and create a wonderful, better story... where every $100 gift card also generates two or three dollars for a worthy cause. That would resonate with a lot of people... But I think it's unlikely.

I could go off on a LONG, LONG rant about what Christmas has become and what we have turned it into, BUT, for right now I won't.

I just think it's interesting that we paid nobody in particular almost 8 BILLION dollars last year. Great stewardship!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've seen the light! Just give me cash! By the way thanks for the Wally World gift card for pastor's appreciation. I was deeply moved!