Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Sun, Jan 02 2005

Gift Cards As Commodities

In post-holiday get-togethers people used to get rid of undesirable Christmas gifts with a white elephant gift exchange. I guess it was inevitable that someone would figure out a way to exchange unwanted gift cards.

I guess we've come full circle on the commercialization of holiday fun. Not only do people spend big bucks buying gifts that people don't need or want, but now the gift recipient can take the concept a step further by selling or trading the value of the unwanted gift.

Remember the story of the gold, frankincense and myrrh that were brought to baby Jesus as gifts? I've often wondered whatever happened to them. They really aren't mentioned in any subsequent Bible stories, so we don't know if the family kept them or sold them, or if they gave them to someone else later. The significance of the gifts must have been in the giving, and not in what happened to the gifts later. Maybe that's the way it should be.

So then why does the swapping and selling of gift cards bother me? Maybe it's the hot-potato feeling of it all. The time on many gift cards tends to run out, so in order to make it worthwhile, the person getting rid of the card needs to get it to someone who will use it in a relatively short period of time. In other words, not only will the recipient not like my choice of gift card, but they'll be in a fever to pass it off to someone else as soon as possible. I like the idea of gift-giving as something to be savored and enjoyed by both giver and recipient.

This new sort of exchange with strangers makes me feel as though my time choosing a gift might as well have been spent on the stranger who will end up with the gift very shortly, and who will appreciate its actual value instead of its trading value. So I'm thinking that maybe I should just bypass the middle man from now on and get the gift to a stranger, the way those men gave their gold, frankincense and myrrh. We don't call them the three wise men for nothing.

posted at: 08:28 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!