Ah, the gift voucher, many kids dread them. But do gift cards and vouchers show real thought, or are they merely a way to weasel out of buying ‘proper’ presents?
Picture the scene – a teenager who, after months of disciplined saving, is within a few pounds of being able to afford a coveted PlayStation 2.
A dozen fivers from distant aunts for his birthday, and games-console bliss is nearly within his grasp.
One final envelope awaits… but what’s this? Some strange currency from a land of bookshops? We are talking, of course, about the vanguard of school prize giving and a fountain of adolescent disappointment – the book token.
The teenager was myself and – although I’m ashamed to sound ungrateful – I’ve always been suspicious of gift vouchers. To some they’re a lucky escape from ill-fitting jumpers and other unwanted presents – the freedom to choose something you’d actually like.
To others, they’re an invitation into a shop you’d normally avoid like the plague, or the promised arrival of an item you could do without.
Gift vouchers expire, money does not
While researching gift cards for an upcoming article, I’ve found many cards soon expire if left unspent, while some impose restrictions on what can and can’t be purchased. Perhaps it’s no surprise unwanted vouchers frequently change hands, find themselves on eBay, or are left to gather dust on the mantelpiece.
To the giver, however, they’re an ideal compromise – showing a fraction more thought than hard cash, while helpfully avoiding the effort of hunting for an elusive perfect gift.
But do you think the gift card is a coward’s way out? And have you ever tried to get rid of unwanted vouchers?