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November 13, 2007

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LAK

If I leaned anything at the U of C, it's that gift cards are for idiots. And vitamin supplements too.

Bruce Boyden

Maybe the solution here is to use gift cards only to buy extended-warranty plans.

dc user

Maybe the answer would be for legislators to treat unused gift cards like unclaimed bank accounts -- the funds would escheat to the State, meaning that after a certain period (say 5 to 7 years) of nonuse, the store would be required to pay the unused balance to the Government. To make things fair for the store, you could subtract a handling fee to cover administrative expenses.

This would give stores an incentive to track their gift-card purchasers/recipients, and to encourage the buyers to use the giftcards. If the giftcard is used then the store would profit just as it profits from a cash sale. If the gift card is not used, on the other hand, then the store gets nothing (except for some interest and/or the handling fee). Stores might respond by setting up registries for gift cards, and by contacting nonusers to remind them to make their purchases. [This might entail undesireable administrative costs, and would cause users some hassle too.]

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