Now there are thousands of people with closets getting taken over by gifts they don’t like, can’t use, or both. Is this right? What should we do with these thing? Of course, the problem has grown somewhat recently with the increasing use of gift cards. If you’re the kind of guy who lives to watch “Swamp People,” what could you possibly do with a gift card from Bed, Bath and Beyond?
I posed these question to some friends recently hoping for some creative answers. Not such a productive idea.
With regards to gift cards, David Spence, a former coworker suggested walking into a doctor’s office and asking who has been waiting the longest, then awarding the unwanted gift card to the person who has been flipping through a three-month old copy of “US” magazine for the most time.
Michael Schreuder suggested collecting unwanted gift cards, laminating them and using them as a placemat. Not a bad idea, except who’s going to get that many unwanted gift cards.
Setting the craziness aside for a minute here are 6 ideas for unwanted gifts and gift cards.
1. Get the cash, or at least part of it. GiftCardRescue.com will pay between 60 and 80 percent of a gift card’s face value, which must be between $25 and $500. You can go to the site and quickly find out what your card is worth. They pay postage. Just have a ready answer when the person who gave you the gift card asks what you did with it.
2. Take store credit. If you receive an item you don’t want, stores will often give store credit even if you don’t have the receipt. Be honest with the store. Lots of people shoplift and then try to return the items for money.
3. Donate the item to charity. Your unwanted item may be exactly what someone else needs. You’ll also get to make a charitable deduction on your income taxes if you itemize.
4. Regift. Here it is, the dreaded regifting. As you might imagine, there’s a website devoted to regifting, Regiftible.com. The site has a lot of good regifting stories, so it’s definitely worth a visit. The site makes some good points. First, if you have a problem with personal debt, cashing in a gift card and applying the money to your debt could be a smart idea. The same thing applies for the cash you save if you regift instead of buying a new gift yourself. The site offers some practical advice if you’re getting ready to regift:
- Don’t regift unique or handmade items,
- Only regift pristine, unopened items,
- Make sure the new owner and the original giver will never meet,
- Don’t regift items that are just plain lousy gifts (see White Elephants below), and
- Are you man—or woman—enough to pull it off without feeling guilty?
- Do you have enough self-control not to go blabbing about it?
5. Save it for a White Elephant opportunity. White elephants are the original regifts. Of course, once you officially bestow White Elephant status to a gift you have to be super careful that the original gifter will never know about it. Sometimes it’s best to move out of state before you pass off a gift as a White Elephant.
6. Sell it on eBay. If you’re new to eBay check out our primer to selling. There’s someone out there who’s willing to bid on your unwanted gift.
How about you? Have any embarrassing regifting stories to share or any creative ways to deal with unwanted gifts?