Monday, 23 February 2009

Are Gift Cards the New Bottled Water?

You can buy disposable, plastic gift cards at the corner store. Most supermarkets devote an entire end cap to the solicitation of gift cards. The logos and products of various chain stores grace the front of these cards: Starbucks, McDonalds, Target, iTunes, Chili’s, Pizza Hut, etc. You can buy gift cards in dozens of denominations to almost any corporate store.

Now there is a new gift card on the market. It’s made by the credit card companies. A citizen may buy a sixty dollar Visa/MasterCard/Discover/ETC Gift Card and give it to their cousin as a birthday gift. The cousin now has sixty dollars that he can spend like cash. But it’s not cash. It’s a disposable gift card that works like cash but is somehow different than cash. What? This is too stupid to catch on. Oh,really? They’ve already bottled up the water and sold it to us at a premium, proving nothing is too stupid to catch on. They’ll probably start bagging up the air and selling that. And we might buy more.


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