Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Christmas blog and a rant

I was just clicking on the "Next blog" button idly and found this little beauty after clicking past a few foreign-language blogs.

Its a blog comprised solely of Christmas gift wishlists. Everyone has a laundry list of what they want, the family dog included. The items they have received are followed with GOT IT in red letters. I expect this sort of mercenary attitude from 9 year olds, not grown ups.

I guess this is the zenith (or nadir, if you prefer) of naked consumerism taking over the most well-known of Christian traditions. When the entire holiday is treated as a financial transaction, with families keeping track of their gifts (and doubtless the monetary value of said gifts) with computers, like a bean counter feverishly working to balance the financial statement before the close of the quarter.

Another pet peeve of mine is gift cards. Why why why do these horrific things exist? They are nothing but money makers for retailers. I count them as the biggest affront to consumers since mail-in rebates. I know both of them are necessary for retailers, and that's because most consumers are STUPID!! Including me. I've had over $200 in rebates either never come back or forget to send it in the first place. Funny how the USPS has such stellar service that a letter rarely gets lost, but when it comes to rebate clearinghouses, they lose rebates by the metric fuckton.

Anyway, back to gift cards. Let's say an impressionable person is watching TV, and a TV ad comes on with the requisite nerdy 19 year old boy and hot 19 year old female. The impressionable aunt thinks, "Oh my lord, my nephew's birthday is right around the corner and I don't have a gift for him!"

Instead of doing the rational thing and gifting him an envelope stuffed with actual, good for something cash, she drives to the local Best Buy and buys a gift card for $5, 10, 15 or 25 dollars. Now what this does is:
a) The money is instantly useless to anyone with half a brain who makes most of their electronics purchases online or at the other store, which has the item he wants at half the price.
b) The money is instantly rendered useless to the guy who just wants to pay his credit card bill, pay for his car repair, pay his rent or any number of other things that can all be done with CA$H.

This is why I dislike gift cards. Instead of going to the bank and withdrawing cash, you are going to the store and giving it to the store. Now if the gift receiver wants to buy something, chances are good that the gift card won't be enough. Either that, or he'll feel forced to buy something that costs more than the gift card in order to use it all up.

Whichever way you look at it, gift cards suck. They suck harder than a feminist sucks cat-cock.

I know many people think that cash is mercenary and cold, but I say there are a million things colder than cash - and someone giving cash is admitting more honestly they haven't a clue what the gift receiver would want than the one who makes an arbitrary decision about which store the receiver should shop at.

Updated December 10: I found this guide to gift cards in case someone actually wants to give someone one of these abominations.

1 comment:

  1. I recieved a gift card once and put it away for a rainy day, the day I got it out and went to use it the balance was 5.00 less because the company charged 2.50 a month for a maintainence fee. What a hoot!
    Why can't people pay more attention to the one's they love? Buying a gift card is the easy way out. It's like a drive-thru service, rather than paying attention to the one's you love and finding something they like or need and picking a gift that fits it. When I buy my wife a gift it's intimate, it's something personal, it's something that has THOUGHT into it, not something like a stupid gift card.