Okay, people, seriously, I know, I haven’t been around much lately, I’ve been in a creative slump, sue me.  That being said, it’s the “holiday season” once again, and once again everyone has lost their damn minds.

Do not copt an attitude with low level employees over issues that are obviously company-wide, corporate policies that this poor shmuck in front of you, or on the other end of the phone or answering your “contact us” email will have no authority to change. (Just because it is an email, doesn’t mean someone doesn’t have to read it and incur all that ill will.  They’re there to help you out, not take your bad day bitching via the internet.)


For example, yes, many gift cards have a “purchase fee” of a few dollars associated with them.  Don’t go to buy any type of gift card that is “universal” and think the magic gift card fairy makes them pop out of thin air.  Do you think that company is getting rich off those fees?  Do you think they’re just rolling around in gift card fee money, buying corporate strippers and shots all night long?  Those fees go to pay for all the infrastructure and processing that goes along with that card and allow you to use little or no imagination in getting a token gift for somenoe that says, “hey, here’s a gift card, I don’t trust you not to buy drugs with cash and I have no desire to go shopping for something you might like or need because you just aren’t that important to me.”

When you get all upset with Susie Customer Service at the store after waiting in line to buy gift cards and she tells you the total is $12 more than you bargained for because of some fee and you turn into a 3 year-old toddler having a tantrum in the middle of the aisle, you need to stop, take a deep breath and say your sorry and leave.  You have forfeited your adult consumer rights for that day.


What you should do if you really want to complain to someone is ask for the number to their customer service.  Then, using 1 to 5 hours of your time, wade through the complex web of advisors, supervisors and department heads until you reach someone in some sort of position of power at that company.  Then let loose your verbal dogs of war about the state of the economy and the highway robbery they are charging you to basically give them money.

If they don’t hang up on you, good for you, you gave them a what for.  However, unless you have say, 8 million friends who do the same thing, NOTHING will happen to that fee.  NOTHING.  You might get lucky and have it refunded to you, but don’t think policy change is happening.  99% of people are perfectly fine with paying those fees or don’t feel their time is cheap enough to spend fighting it.  And some people actually do this crazy thing where they buy actual things for people and wrap them in paper and give it to the person instead of putting a gift card, in a card, in an envelope. I know, it’s old fashioned, but try it.


Gift cards are a waste of your time and your money.  Most gift cards will sit around slowly draining themselves with maintenance fees as they are forgotten by your intended giftee.  Companies love them, they are basically free money.  So why don’t you do yourself a favor and just cut out the plastic that will sit around on the planet for the next 100,000 years and give that person cash if you don’t want to go shopping for something.  Sure they may spend it on a speedball and some gin, but you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing they got what they really wanted and you didn’t pay that gift card fee!  Take that retailers!

I swear, if I hear “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays” one more time… a post for another day…