Gift & Take

by Omatic Design

T’is the season where millions of shoppers hang their heads, throw in the towel, point to a store and say, “Well, Sally shops at Socks & Clocks.” And because Sally shops at Socks & Clocks, she’s darn well getting a gift card to Socks & Clocks, because what would be more appreciated than warm tootsies and a tick-tocking awareness of mortality?

Said hosiery and cuckoo concern will  happily gather $50 from the gift giver for a shiny card. They will joyously make interest on the upfront money, and when Sally wanders in with her $50 gift card, she’ll either spend more than that amount (ching!) or forfeit a balance because there’s nothing out there that costs  exactly $50 (ching! as well). Either way, it’s a great deal for Socks & Clocks.

Gift cards are sneaky, enduring genius. They play a sympathetic song to multiple facets of consumer behavior (laziness, insecurity, confusion, etc.) or institutional gift-giving needs (“I am not shopping for every person in the damned mailroom.”) They are also a mean, Benjamin-green revenue machine. The unspoken benefits to retailers are quietly hidden behind the veneer of the gift card giver’s generosity. Additional bonuses include a recipient who has never been to Sock & Clocks but is now obligated to experience their revered brand. Welcome!

I’ve tried to beat the system by making my total purchase add up to the gifted amount. Gonna show The Man that I won’t play his cynical game.

I’ll leave it at this: I really, really tried.