I started ravaging through my top desk drawer looking for something simple – a letter opener. Digging through all the junk that has accumulated in there over the years, I found a lot of things that were long forgotten.
Alka Seltzer Cold with an expiration date of 10/2004.
My birth certificate.
A door key from a cruise I took in 2008.
A pack of screws.
And a lot of gift cards.
Restaurant gift cards I’m given always get redeemed for some reason. Home Depot, not so much. Same thing for the $5 igourmet.com card I had to reach way back in there for.
I’m a business owner’s best friend by not redeeming those. For some, I called the toll-free number on the back to see if there was a balance on them. Interestingly enough, some held their initial value, while others simply faded away adding to the company’s bottom line.
Knowing I’m not the only one who forgets about gift cards, I did a quick Google search to find out just how many of these things go unredeemed.
Business have cropped up with their model based around that $30 billion. You’ll find websites that will give you cash for unused gift cards, ones that allow you to swap one card for another and ones that allow you to donate your gift cards to non-profits.
I don’t usually give gift cards, because there’s a chance that the card won’t be appropriate. Like that Home Depot card I got. Really? Do I look the handy-man type? But the card for Maggiano’s I got this Christmas? Yeah, that was a good fit.
I’m going to go through the rest of the drawer and see what other fun stuff that’s hiding out while forcing my memory to remember who would get me a $5 gift card.
It’s the thought that counts, right?