Apparently, Gift Cards Are a Big Scam

Not really, but there has been a lot of news and commentary lately about how many gift cards go unredeemed every year. $8.2 billion, apparently.

Freakonomics blog suggests alternatives:

Next year, if you need a gift for a strict rationalist, consider cash. If you want to appeal to someone’s wild self, you’ll have to use your imagination. And if you’re hoping to send a little something extra to the shareholders of Best Buy or the Gap or Tiffany, consider a gift card.

I received a $20 iTunes gift certificate for a wedding shower present. It was a nice idea, but neither my wife nor I have an iPod or use iTunes, so it isn’t particularly useful. We will either regift it to our friends, who just got matching iPods for Christmas, or it will sit unused until it expires. Typical, apparently.