I walked into a local grocery store here in Dallas yesterday and couldn’t believe the number of gift cards they had hanging there. They nearly needed a complete aisle in the store to display them all. It seems like gift cards are becoming more prevalent everywhere you look. You could probably buy one for The Home Depot at Victoria’s Secret. It is stupid.
I do buy gift cards sometimes at the grocery store locally. Our grocery gives 4 X the gas points when you purchase gift cards. So if I buy $250 worth of cards at The Home Depot or Lowes, that is $1 off a gallon of diesel. So, I save $35 when I’m going to buy something anywhere.
I don’t know this new fascination with gift cards. And I don’t have any idea why they sell gift cards in the grocery stores. Maybe the retailer pays the grocery a percentage to sell them, I don’t know. And I can’t think of any reason that all these stores want the gift cards out there other than a certain percentage of them will never get redeemed. I came up with this because I know at some bike shops, they are sitting on thousands of dollars worth of gift certificates that no one ever uses.
I looked it up and this place says that only 7% of the gift cards go unredeemed. I don’t think that number is high enough. Not even close. I’ve had a ton of gift card go unused. I don’t know how many, but some of the ones I used had a expiration date or they started losing value every month after a year or so.
Even if you use the low 7% number, that means that each American household has $300 of the things laying around. That number seemed big. It’s about 30 billion dollars total. That is a lot of free money being “gifted” to the big retailers from us. I think that is just what they want.