I saw a headline yesterday that said "worthless gift cards you should avoid as gifts." I buy a lot of these at the holidays but apparently they often go to waste!

According to the National Retail Federation, one third of gift cards bought for the holiday season are never actually used.  Normally when I don't know a person very well, I walk into the Walgreens across the street from the station and pick out something from the giant rack of gift cards, but the article goes on to explain that once I hand it off to my recipient it may never be seen again for a multitude of reasons like:

  • They never shop at that store (BTW, you can make money off that unwanted gift card! Find our how HERE.)
  • The store doesn't exists near the recipient (I got a $100 Panera gift card while I was home a few years ago.  Panera didn't exist in the Treasure Valley till 5 years later.)
  • Inactivity fees eat away at the card's value after a year
  • They lose the card
  • They forget they have it and tuck it away in a junk drawer somewhere

Plus there's always the possibility that the recipient gets upset because a gift card seems impersonal and like you didn't try while selecting a gift for them.  With this info in mind, will you still be purchasing gift cards for Christmas?