Or, in my younger days, that which was called a Gift Certificate.
I love them. Honest. If I'm fortunate enough to get one, I'll sometimes put it on the table and peer at it through a heart shaped hand formation.
Ok, I lied. I don't really do that. The only time I've made that heart shaped hand formation (other than just now making that blurry picture) was when I brought the third season of Scrubs home on DVD. Apparently I also had an overwhelming need to show Mr. Zoom how unfortunate his choice in wifery was. Again.
But in all non-lying ness, I really love receiving a Gift Card. It's not that I like shopping, either. I hate shopping with a purpose. "Have to find a ______ for ________ to go with _________." What I love is being somewhere without an agenda, finding a thing that I believe I can't live without, and having a Gift Card to buy it with.
It should be noted that I am equally in love with gifts I have received that were of the non-gift-card type. A number of my favorite possessions were given to me in that retro "aha, there's something I bet she'd like for Christmas/Birthday/Happy Parole Party and hasn't bought for herself yet" kind of way.
I think both are wonderful gestures.
So many people are annoyed at Gift Cards. Not just annoyed, but downright offended. I've never seen something so clearly intended for good feelings go so wrong. Not since the last time I offered a piece of my steak to my best vegetarian pal in the world.
Maybe other people live in the kind of world where the friend/relative/secret santa target DOESN'T already have that particular item in the price range they are considering. Or that someone else hasn't already gotten for them. Or that they said they liked because someone's sister was there and would be offended if they told the truth, but they really don't want that thing. Sure, gift receipts are great for exchanges or returns, but isn't that really just a more complicated Gift Card when you are done with all of that?
I'm not saying everyone I know has the ability to buy everything they've ever wanted. Far from it. But, in this world of Target where you can buy multiples of just about everything you could ever want for what feels like less than what a #2 meal deal costs at Carl's Jr., it's really difficult to pick up an item that someone doesn't already have.
Even worse is the fact that the internet makes pre-ordering and hard to find items available to the giftee 24 hours a day. Even on the most notoriously impossible to shop on holidays "in real life." I don't have the time or energy to try and beat someone to the purchase, and I certainly don't expect someone else to do it for me in reverse.
Dear world: Stop complaining about how uncreative and unthoughtful the Gift Card you just received is. If it came from me, it is actually quite the opposite. It means I've considered the possibilities of my being able to make you smile, and I felt that this form of smileage was going to be the most effective.
I'd also like to point out that many Gift Cards now come in a downright cute, if not clever, design. Some with impressive holders to present them in. Presented to YOU. From ME. Quit it with the entitlement for a moment and whine to me about real injustices, like having your organs donated without your permission. Or being forced to meet my parents without an interventionist.
If you can't appreciate someone trying to give you an opportunity to chose something you'd like - send your cards to me. I might even make that heart shaped hand formation while I'm picking up a 20 pack of extra large granny style undies for you at Target. You're going to need them if you insist on wearing your head up your ass.