Wal-mart and Barnes & Noble and whoever else has plastic gift cards for sale. My kids have received these for birthdays or Christmas, which means my relatives, some of them, are lazy and stupid. They’re lazy the same way I’m lazy, but they’re stupid because they believe that gift cards somehow show they put thought into the gift, when all it really does is show that they can’t be trusted to tell the difference between value and advertising.
It used to be that an uncle or an aunt, if they couldn’t bother figuring out what their nieces and nephews wanted, would just slap a fiver or a twenty or something into a greeting card and drop it in the mail. I received many of those growing up. I can, of course, see how that practice looked pretty impersonal, especially to the aunt or uncle. As a kid, though, I could not have cared less. In fact, I relished getting all this cash from my relatives in far-flung states, and if I didn’t spend it wisely, at least I spent it. Every last cent.
My kids have these plastic cards sitting on their dressers. They’ve been used a time or two, but they still have worth, two or seven or five dollars. It doesn’t look like money to a kid, though; it’s just this card sitting under some paper, or a sock. Eventually, they will be lost or shredded or tossed in the washer one too many times or eaten by the dog. Two or seven or five dollars, thrown away. And not even thrown away; given to a gigantic corporation in exchange for a crappy plastic card with advertising on it.
That never happened to my cash. I spent it, every last cent.
Parents, aunts, uncles: just give the little bastards cash. They love it, and you don’t fall (again! again!) for the same tawdry sales pitch fools do when they part with their money.