Gift Card Promotions: Gimmicks or Good Values?

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To pull in customers during a tough economic climate, retailers are rolling out gift card promotions galore. On the surface, the deals seem like, well, deals.

The WSJ lists some of the retailer specials, such as free $50 cards at Neiman Marcus, $100 cards for customers who spend $450 at Saks, and $10 gift cards to Target shoppers spending $100 or more the day after Thanksgiving. (You could make it a $100 gift card and I still wouldn’t go shopping the day after Thanksgiving.)

But gift cards have a downside. When you have one in your hand, your usual shopping savvy disappears and you’re more likely to buy items at full (non-discounted) price. You’re also fairly likely to not use gift cards at all. Some estimates say that 10% of gift cards go unused.

Meanwhile, Wise Bread asks readers: “Do Gift Cards Make a Good Gift?” Many consumers are not fans.