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Is there a giftcard giving protocol?

give a giftGiving a gift is a rewarding experience however like many times when you are giving a gift there are protocols around what is acceptable and what is questionable. If you are going to a wedding for your friend a ticket for a singles cruise is probably not acceptable. Giving your 14 year old daughter a new car is a nice gesture but also questionable since she is unable to use it. Deciding when, what, and how much to put on a giftcard is a choice that you will need to make. All of this can be discovered simply by knowing the person.

Know the person
One of the most important aspects when deciding to give a giftcard is knowing the person that you are giving the gift to. If it is a family member or a friend this is much easier. However, what happens when it is a co-worker or someone that you do not know as well? Some people do not want giftcards for holidays and events. Others, are so happy to get a Starbucks giftcard that not only will they thank you but you might end up in a bear hug from them – people love their coffee.

If you are fairly certain that they are going to be happy to receive a giftcard it is time to do your homework on what type of card they are going to want. Is it clothing, groceries, coffee, or help on a trip that they want to take? How can you help them with their day to day routine? This research, although sometimes time consuming, is necessary to make sure you don’t make a faux pas and break one of the giftcard protocols which is giving something that the person will never use. My friend Paul wanted to give one of his employees a giftcard for their birthday. Paul is a big gamer and because he and his children enjoy it so much he thought that a good place for a giftcard would be GameStop. Paul bought his employee a giftcard there and of course the employee seemed happy to receive it. Later, Paul found out that the gift was given away because that employee and his family were not really into gaming.

Know the situation
To me this is the most important part of the giftcard giving protocol. You need to understand what you’re giving the giftcard for. Giving something for someone graduating from junior high is different than a wedding. Knowing the situation is an important factor in determining what amount you should be getting for the giftcard and what kind of giftcard. It’s obvious that you’re not going to buy a giftcard for alcohol when your nephew graduates high school but what is the correct protocol? The good news is that you already know the person you’re buying for so the next piece is to know how much to give. This is a combination of what you can afford and what you believe is expected. If you have a good job and can spoil little Johnny during his graduation then you should expect to be around $50 and not giving him a $25 giftcard to Subway.

Final Thoughts
The protocol for giving a giftcard is simple. Know the person you’re buying for and understand the situation you are in. The person will dictate what store or restaurant the giftcard should be for and the situation combined with the person will answer how much you should give. If you can identify those two things you will be following the giftcard giving protocol.