Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gift Cards


You would think that as a Professional Organizer I would like the idea of giving gift cards. After all, they take up very little space and the recipient can buy exactly what they want with the card.
Actually, I am really against them. Time and time and time again while decluttering with a client I come across old gift cards. Sometimes I come across whole stacks of gift cards. They are often years old and no longer good. Someone who cared about this person put out money that was basically just thrown away.
There are many reasons why this happens. One reason is that the person receiving the card is in some type of transition or stressful time and is not 100% there.
I have recently come across bundles of cards from a couple of clients that were married several years ago. Now we are going through the wedding gifts, cards, and pictures and making decisions about them. It's sad to see all of these gift cards that have not been cashed in or used. I have also had some clients who were given the gift cards when they were recovering from a fire, an illness, or a death in the family. These gift cards were lumped in with the greeting cards and put in a box or a drawer. The clients are just now getting the courage to go through these items and make decisions about them. It saddens them again that they did not cash in the cards and lost the gift that was given to them.
At other times, the recipient has ADD and has laid the cards in a stack of papers or on a bookcase "just for now" and forgotten about them. They don't mean to not use them- they just forgot. It makes them feel dumb that they forgot about the cards.
So we now have not only money spent that did not get used but we are in the long run making the recipient feel bad instead of good when they refind them.
If you do give a gift card, please follow up and see what they were used for. Maybe go shopping with the friend and help them get something they need.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

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