Friday, 3 November 2017

To Give, And Not To Count The Cost?

This is a little rant. I enjoy giving people gifts. I try to be thoughtful about what I give, and ask a few questions before I buy...
Will the recipient appreciate this item? 
Am I just spending money on something which really is a load of tat, and will soon be in landfill?
If they live far away, will the cost of postage be more than the value of the gift itself?
Recently I have been sending flowers, because I've found a reliable company [Bloom & Wild] and so often a bunch of flowers can really brighten someone's day. I know that some of you have taken up the code I gave in my earlier post. I hope you have been happy with your purchases.
But I also like sending vouchers/gift cards. Easy to post, or slip inside a greetings card...and giving the recipient the opportunity to choose what to buy.
It is especially useful if you know somebody likes a particular shop.
But here's my little rant. I often send M&S vouchers, and they come in attractive cards, with an envelope. 
But this week I wanted to buy someone a card for a particular store. 
I discovered that my local Sainsburys sells a wide variety of store giftcards- including the one I wanted. Amazingly, the envelopes cost an extra £1.50!! I think this is particularly mean.
Yes, I bought the card- but not the envelope. HOW can they justify this? According to the website
"Our 'occasional' gift cards come with an envelope attached. This excludes the Shopping Card, Student Meal Ticket, £5, £10 and £20 Gift Card "  Surely a £20 card merits a free envelope?
You could always just put a banknote inside a card. I have long been fascinated by those "money origami" websites, which show you how to fold cash into exotic shapes [usually these are dollar bills- but you can find Euro notes and sterling tutorials if you search hard enough]
I suspect that our new plastic notes will prove much harder to fold. I find them very springy. 
I think I'd be quite thrilled to receive a birthday card containing a little shirt, or a frog [Or the star - that needs at least five £5 notes] Not so sure about Her Majesty in a jaunty hat! My Chinese friends have got it right, their little bright red and gold money envelopes, used at New Year, are a lovely way to donate the dosh.

Is it lazy to send tokens or cash instead of an actual gift? Or do you think people prefer it?


  1. I often give cash to children as I can remember the childhood joy of going out spending. I'm less comfortable with giving cash to friends or elderly people. And I think charging £1.50 for an envelope is outrageous!!!

  2. 紅包 or hongbao in mandarin literally means red envelope or package. My Chinese wife has always had a supply of these. Our children looked forward to receiving one (or at least it's contents) on Chinese New Year or on other special ocassions. When they marry they no longer qualify but the grandchildren do. Monetary gifts are the usual thing for the Chinese as well as food.

  3. I think tokens/vouchers are such a good idea, but horrified by Sainsbury's attitude.

  4. I have long since stopped assuming that I know what the recipients like so those little gift cards are a bonus to me.I try and aim for the ones to use at the shops I know the recipients use.At Xmas I get my boss to go to Harvey Nicks for me and buy their gift cards for the 'special' folk in my life!My rant about that would be that they also give you TOO MUCH paper and cardboard AND a little paper bag to put it all in!

  5. we sent a £20 not folded into a shirt and the recipient loved it too much to open.
    Personally I like to recieve a gift card and our daughter loves a google gift cards so she can put more music onto her phone.

  6. I think there are some people in our lives who really do prefer a gift card (college students, or young couples, or even the elderly who already have most of what they need). And as you say, postage is so expensive these days! Sending a gift card in an envelope means you can put more money on the gift card itself, rather than dumping the $ into postage. (Just my rant too -- I was recently hijacked at the P.O., trying to be thrifty in mailing a package!)

  7. THANK YOU everyone for all your comments. I love the Chinese characters, and 'hongbao' -
    the name of the red envelope, Philip! Carol, the thought of someone not wishing to dismantle the origami is amusing - and slightly crazy! I think the comments show that tokens/gift cards seem to be a very popular choice now.

  8. I asked my eldest grandson, nearly 13, what he would like for Christmas. He said money but I am reluctant as I know he will use it for online gaming and I am not sure I want to encourage more screen time. Am I being too restrictive and old fashioned?


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