How many gift cards do you have hanging around? Canada passed laws (or was it Ontario?) a while ago to stop the practice of “expiring” gift cards, but evidently Canadians on average have 7 gift cards with a value of about $475.00 sitting around not being used. Gift cards in my house get used up very quickly, and if they are laying around the house it is most likely because it has $1 left on it. Gift cards are an easy way for Grandparents and such to give the girls gifts without having to shop too much (which is fine by me). It used to be there was a stigma about giving Cash for Christmas (I never had a problem with it myself) because you didn’t take the time to buy a gift, now with gift cards, that stigma seems to have disappeared.
Ebay evidently has a raving business on selling gift cards, which is interesting. I guess the model is, people who have gift cards at stores they don’t shop at are trying to get cash, while folks that are looking for “cheaper” gift cards buy them (let’s not talk about shipping costs and such, maybe they don’t ship them, maybe they just give the code from the card?). There are actually sites that specialize in gift card trading, so yet another interesting side industry appears on the Internet. Why don’t I ever think of these ideas first, I wonder?
Go find those cards, and spend that money! Put it back in the economy!
Also watch out for gift card fraud as well. The perpetrators go into a store, write down the “codes” from cards on display and then check on-line to see if the cards have been “activated” and will then buy with the codes. Some stores have scratch off codes, others give PIN numbers with the cards for on-line shopping, but be aware!