January 11, 2013 in Features

Recipient of gift cards prefers cash

Judith Martin Universal Uclick
Contact Miss Manners

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, dearmissmanners @gmail.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I know that I can’t say anything about gift cards (except “thank you”), but perhaps Miss Manners can.

I do not enjoy shopping. But every year I start months in advance, doing my best to find a thoughtful, appropriate gift for each person. Then Christmas comes, and I get an assortment of gift cards – and my shopping chore starts all over again.

Some are for stores not found in my area. And I have to make the gift fit the size of the card, so to speak – I often end up having to add money. Very rarely, those who know me well give me a card for a store that I frequent regularly, or for a shop, previously unknown to me, that becomes a favorite. But not usually.

I realize I risk sounding like an ungrateful cad – after all, a stack of gift cards indicates at least that many friends. But the actual result is that I have to do all the shopping twice, I have to run all over town, and I’m limited to just so much at a particular store.

I never thought I’d say such a thing, but if you’re looking for a one-size-fits-all gift, just go with cash. Does Miss Manners care to comment?

GENTLE READER: How about this: Cash isn’t a present; it is a penalty paid by people who have not taken enough interest in the recipient to know what to choose.

Or this: Miss Manners agrees that laundering money with a gift card makes it harder to spend, and therefore worse.

Or this: If there were such a thing as a one-size-fits-all present, everyone would already have one.

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