Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Gift Cards: Are They Tacky, or the Best Idea Ever?

Image by Donald Trung from Wikimedia Commons
Christmas time is here again, and you know what that means – time to spend money you don’t have on things no one needs to please people who don’t like you. At least, that’s what it’s always meant in my family.

Jim and I went Christmas shopping at the mall last weekend, which was a whole ordeal in itself, and Jim bought his nephews gift cards. What else was he to do – we’re old, we don’t know what kids like, and even if we did, there’s not even a toy store at this sh*tty mall. Even if there was, do kids even play with toys anymore? Don’t they just binge-watch YouTube videos and scream profanities at strangers in online games?

The thing is, there’s a lot of debate as to whether or not gift cards are an appropriate gift. People seem to fall into two camps: Those who hate gift cards, and those who love them. The anti-gift-card folks argue that gift cards are just as tacky as cash, but less useful, because you can only spend them in one place.

To that, I say, just give the person one of those Visa or Mastercard gift cards that’s just a pre-loaded debit card. Or, you know, just give them cash. It’s 2017. Gays can get married, dogs and cats are living together, men are wearing long hair and women are wearing trousers, and an evil toupee is ruling the free world. I don’t think we need to be overly concerned about the tackiness, or lack thereof, of giving another person, whom we presumably like, cash or a cash equivalent as a gift. I mean, who doesn’t like getting cash? When have you ever, upon receiving some free cash, recoiled and exclaimed, “My word, I can’t possibly accept this tacky gift!” Never, because it’s awesome.

Another argument against gift cards is that giving one is like admitting that you’ve given up trying to find that person a thoughtful gift. But, you know what, some people suck at gift giving, okay? There’s no knowing how many marriages, families, and friendships have been saved by gift cards. Even if you’re generally good at giving gifts, you might find yourself in the position of having to buy for someone you don’t know very well, or someone much younger than you who’s probably into cool and trendy things of which you’re not even aware, or someone who already has all the things they want. You know, one of those assholes who, when they want something, just goes out and buys it like some kind of savage.

I love gift cards, for the record. When I was growing up, my extended family always bought me pretty sucky Christmas gifts, because I was young and they were old and they never knew what I might like and, looking back on it, my mother probably wasn’t much help because somebody had to be feeding them these terrible ideas and she’s got a few screws loose, bless her heart. I would have loved some gift cards. I always asked for gift cards or cash, which request was always met with either a) raucous laughter, or b) a pouting expression and the words “Well, that’s no fun!” No, you know what’s really no fun? Sh*tty Christmas gifts, that’s what.