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With gift cards, everybody wins

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By Bob White

 

The News-Enterprise   They don’t get worn, torn or faded and they come in a variety of sizes. But each one is guaranteed to fit. They can go anywhere and are always appreciated. Gift cards and gift certificates are a gift buyer’s safety net. As more and more gift givers opt for gift cards and certificates as a way to give the right gift, more and more retailers, restaurants and businesses offer them as a way to boost their holiday sales. For an older generation giving to a younger generation, gift cards are a way to ensure the recipient gets something that fits, is trendy and suitable for their needs. For one gender giving to another gender, the same rules apply. Even some gun dealers are offering gift certificates for that very reason. According to estimates by the National Retail Federation, gift card sales will increase this holiday season to $26.3 billion. While a significant drop from last year's 23 percent increase, the incline proves that gift cards and certificates are a great way to give without making a mistake. Home Depot offers a DVD gift card, which gives home improvement tips along with a chance to buy something that will make a difference inside or outside a recipient’s home. Macy’s allows its customers to personalize gift cards with their own photos. Starbucks packages its cards in little red mittens and Target’s gift cards can sing or tell you if you've been naughty or nice. At a mere 8 percent, few gift cards continue to include expiration dates or some sort of dormancy fees for those slow to use them. And for those who don’t redeem gift cards and certificates, it’s certainly no loss for the business from which the card was purchased – a dirty, but true secret of retailers. Gift cards and certificates are a win-win for all involved