People hate shopping for me. Evidently I'm "difficult to shop for" though I think that's an unfair statement. I'm very easy to shop for, it's just difficult to afford the gifts that I want. Two very different things.
From early on in our relationship, Melissa learned that I am no fun when it comes to gifts. I often know what my gifts are (yay superpower!) and, at least in her opinion, my gifts to her seem to have a bit of an edge. I win at gifts. Congratulations to me.
This gift giving issue came up recently when we had a friend come to town. That's right! We had a real life visitor, and it was amazing. He's a close friend of mine that I've known since my high school days, and it's only fair that I bring up how much he hated me before he even met me. Me!! (ME!!) While it was far from an argument, we had opposing opinions on the validity of giving gift cards to people as presents.
His stance is basically that it's not very personal. He's one of those people who wants to not only give a gift that the person will enjoy, but shows a level of thought and personal insight. That's pretty nice, but I'd argue that those are things that a gift card can accomplish with ease!
What could be more personal than a gift that by it's very design is tailor-made for an individual person? Buying a gift card for someone means having the balls to admit that the person you are buying a gift for might have a better idea of what they want than you do. Buying a gift card means telling a person that you don't want them to feel obliged to keep a book that they'll never read. Plus! It gives people a reason to get an expensive item that they would otherwise avoid. Why? Because with the gift card it's basically on sale. Come on ladies, that argument should appeal to you.
Thoughtful? Insightful? When it comes to buying a gift card you must balance what you are willing to pay with what desirable items within that store might cost. Something you have to think about. It must be a little treasure nibblet for a store that your gift recipient would actually want to go to. You can't give a gift card to the local camping store to a person who hates camping, believe me, you'll see that look of disappointment on their face and you'll hate yourself for not remembering that incident with the snake when they were five. Something that requires insight to that person's life. Yes, most cards have a dollar amount imprinted on the face of the card and the person gets to see exactly what you are willing to spend on them. Get over yourself, it's not that big of a deal.
So please! Go out and get your friends and family a gift card when the need for a gift comes around. From restaurants to movie theaters to shoe stores...they really are better than you think.
If your giftee does not seem grateful, just send the card to me and I'll start an open-ended post of things I buy with rejected gift cards. So they see what they are missing.