HoLiDaYNoMiCS 101: THe GiFT CarD MiNeFieLD

williambanzai7's picture



"Basically you are trading legal tender for a tenuous and fleeting corporate contract, designed to separate you from your money in a host of nefarious ways. Oh and the State can confiscate your gift cards too..."


[Source: and]









If someone gives you cash over the holidays, make sure that your dollars will not expire before your gift cards!




[WB7: I have three questions for you to consider,

1. Who do you think runs these gift card programs for the retailers?

2. Is there anyone on this planet who would say: Please give me a gift card for Christmas instead of cash?

3. Which segment of the population is targeted by gift card scams, the wealthiest 10%?

Notice how all of this crap, which creates a nice big revenue steam for somebody big, began appearing during the Greenspan era and is reaching apex under the reign of his honesty Benron.

PS: Blockbuster gift cards can be used as handy wallet sized windshield scrapers]


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velobabe's picture

william no offense, but fuck gift cards. i have never used one nor bought one as a gift. oh wait i take that back. i bought an itunes one for my daughter. she hated it and itunes. never again. give silver coin for gifts.

billy you better watch your reputation having that pin up girl with no bra and bare breasts. shame on you, i am going to tell your mother your entering light porn phrase in your life, and i am sure she won't let you use your game boy computer for a day. and those scantily clad panties on your public servant, shame shame. i am not going to talk to you ever again. i thought you were the only prude around here† you and all your hundred on winky face emtotions.

williambanzai7's picture

All Banzai7 images follow the Google Safe Search rating system ;-)

Never judge a book by its emoticons ;-)

velobabe's picture

never noticed that similarity, cowboy†

hey i got my decades old high cowgirl boots,

H O T    h o t HoT

downrodeo's picture

my but do you enjoy southwestern american culture...

EvlTheCat's picture

PS: Blockbuster gift cards can be used as handy wallet sized windshield scrapers

Nice suggestion.  Last year I used my accumulated gift cards as a tile roof for a birdhouse I built.  It made for a great collage.

P.S. thanks again for a great post WB7.  My kids loved the barking dogs and I like the eye candy.  Though my wife is starting to get suspicious.  She keeps insisting this is some kind of porno site.  I keep telling her the only pornography here is when describing what  government and banking is doing to the world.  xxx violent aian porn cartoon style!

williambanzai7's picture

Birdhouse roof...that is one for the books ;-)

All images on my posts are rated Google Safe Search.


G-R-U-N-T's picture

"US Army Gift Card Sweeper"

LOL....Very nice!

williambanzai7's picture

Where the twisted mind travels... ;-)

breezer1's picture

i asked the girl at the bookstore to cancel the card and give me the 1.15 change and she said she couldn't do it. store policy. i could add to the card but not get cash back. i wasted 10 minutes pointing out that it was my money, at the same time getting the long line up behind me involved. i wasn't the only one who thought it was bullshit . 

i gave the remaining 1.15 to the lady behind me in line and wished her merry Christmas.

bill, how are you progressing with my suggestion of a garbage gun for financial terrorists?

williambanzai7's picture

I was thinking about that while reading this:  Rail Gun Article

breezer1's picture

yes, could easily be modified for the large volumes required. make a nice Christmas gift.

Duuude's picture

Let's get serious here...

Is that or is it not Lauren Bacall ?

Mercury's picture

My public service announcement is I'm a sucker for hot women working vintage audio gear. 

This reminds me, I have a B&N gift certificate that's growing mold somewhere.  Can never have too many concert DVDs...


williambanzai7's picture

Satisfaction guaranteed ;-)

Kreditanstalt's picture

WTF is a "gift card" anyway?  We don't have them here in Taiwan as far as I know, and I never saw one when I was living in Canada 20 years ago...@%#$

Do buyers get some kind of bonus for buying them?  Like, for example, you pay in $95 and get a $100 card for that particular store?

Aristarchan's picture is just way that retailers take your cash up-front into their coffers and give you a credit in return. They take advantage of the time value of money, and the fact that many gift-card holders never use the full face amount of the card. The main use of giftcards in the US is for things like Christmas...when you want to give somebody a gift, but have no idea what to give you give them gift cards which are redeemable for products in a store. Of course, you would be better off just giving them the cash to begin with.

williambanzai7's picture

There are many angles to the scam. But one simple element is the fact that the card never equals the price of what the giftee wants. So for example, you give someone a card for $10 and the item purchased costs $8.50, either you leave the $1.50 on the table or you use it by spending more money.

Why not give cash. Is it really the thought of the gift card that counts ;-)

seventree's picture

There are 2 prominent reasons why people give cards instead of cash:

1. It just seems crass to give paper money to an adult as a gift (kids don't care). It is too much like handing money to a street beggar. Of course they are really doing the same thing with reduced choice in the self-chosen gift, but still it seems more genteel.

2. Coercing someone with a practical streak to indulge in personal luxury. I myself have given restaurant or boutique cards to a relative who otherwise would use it to pay household expenses. Presumptious? Probably but there it is.

williambanzai7's picture

Perhaps for some. There always was a luxury gift certificate market for day spa treatments and similarly focused gifting. But I think you left off many other modern reasons:

1. Lack of creativity

2. Lack of time

3. Laziness

4. Some vague notion that kids will use cash to buy contraband

5. Feelings of guilt

6. Inability to surmise the subtle differences and preferences between the flood of made in China goods

7. Cyber gifting


Husk-Erzulie's picture

Kids, do not trade your Wally World gift cards for a bag of weed.  It ain't genteel.

Kreditanstalt's picture

Thanks...quite a scam.

"Of course, you would be better off just giving them the cash to begin with."

~~That's what I thought...

Tic tock's picture

I'd like to share.. when I first saw WB7's penwork I thought the energy was more born out of idealism than from suffering. It can be gritty, LCP manicured alley, but it gets easier.

williambanzai7's picture

Like a good bacteria, it grows on you ;-)

moofph's picture

...glad to see my state of California receive an A in gift cards...yet, i grade my state an F- in green cards.

Aristarchan's picture

Well, I just got of the phone with Lloyd over at GS per this issue, and he suggested that GS could contract with Cali to monetize those green cards in a way that is condusive to doing God's work, while at the same time, helping out the struggling retail industry in California. We got Cohn and Viniar on conference and, as you would expect, the intellectual capital started spewing like Siemen from a stuxnut. What we do is, charge these folks for the green card, monies which goes to the state, but also sell them enhanced values that are redeemable at a variety of locations around the state.....places like wally World, Smith's liquor Emporium, Guccis, King Kong amyll Nitrates and other select locations. is the kicker...if they opt for the higher value cards, we give them some perks like the right to vote (GS will provide real-time updates on WHO to vote for), make them an instant contestant in the QE lotteries, and give them the right to buy lucrative sub-prime Mortgage securities from GS. This is obviously a win-win-win. Let me know what you think, Lloyd wants to go to the next level on this one.

Husk-Erzulie's picture

the intellectual capital started spewing like Siemen from a stuxnut

Funny ;~))

Aristarchan's picture

The last time I visited the "people of Wall Mart" website I failed to see anyone that would constitute a threat to anyone or anything...except maybe a ten lb. slab of smoked bacon. But, I guess I see the governments point here....harass retail customers and leave the Sharia banking system wide ass open....makes sense to me.

I Am The Unknown Comic's picture

Thank you yet again WB7

And here is further validation and support of your point:

My wife and I recieved a gift card from my cousin for of all things....freaking WallMart...just recently.  Anyway, in order to activate the card I had to call up and the "who?" on the other end of the line wanted to know my social security number, date of birth, current address and wife's name and her social security number before they would activate the card.  I said no to each, and the "you whanna who?" on the other end of the line said she "cain't" activate my card without "dat infamation" due to new rules handed down by the Department of Homeland Security.

After much wrangling, my wife faxed in the reciept for the gift card and WallMart sent us a check for the full amount of the gift card.  We have cashed it.  We hope there will be no further problems.  However, I "cain't" imagine how this could be a productive business model for WallMart. 

Anybody else experience this?   The amount of the card was certainly far, far less than the $10,000.00 reportable limit under the (un)Patriot Act.   When I asked, the "who?" on the other end of the phone line stated explicitly that the new rules were designed to prevent "Terwrists" from "usin' deese cahds to funnel money to their peoples heare" 

fuck us all "weeze be done-ed"

williambanzai7's picture

Social Security number with a Walmart call center in Mumbai. Yet another reason...

Aristarchan's picture

My wife has a cousin in Mumbai who drives a moto-taxi. While he is hauling people around in a cloud of noisy, blue smoke, he is on his handphone constantly...he is also contracted to a local call center that works for Bank of America. He does not call customers, but checks phone messages and calls in to the center when someone actually answers one of their messages. He is a filter, of sorts. It is cheaper to sub out to poor people to check messages and filter the sucker who might want to pay his overdue bill, from the majority that leave a string of expletives, than it is to have the (relatively) highly paid call center people do it.

williambanzai7's picture

The same people are on the cable hookup help lines.

CD's picture

Well done, WB. I have long been angered by the scam that is various kinds of payment cards, and store gift cards are among the very worst.

By way of 'currency' choice -- here are some alternatives. Would you rather have this:

Or this:

williambanzai7's picture

Oh, I'll take the green paper any day ;-)

DOT's picture

When the Charmin is used up, paper is better than plastic!

Aristarchan's picture

Hey Willie....check this out....probably would in many aspects apply to gift cards as well.

williambanzai7's picture

I can attest on ice scrapers, guitar picks, cake cutters and lock picks .

velobabe's picture

in a pinch, use a plastic credit/debit card as an ice scraper on car windshield†

Aristarchan's picture

I would assume you are well versed in the Ninja carotid artery slice as well.......

williambanzai7's picture

I am familiar with the move ;-) 

Aristarchan's picture

Lets, artery slices,credit cards, US gov, scantily clad chicks from another era...hhmm, may need a remake of "Goldfinger" pretty soon.

Aristarchan's picture

I actually used a credit card to ice a cake once on a camping I recall it was a Sinclair gas card with the green brontosaurus on it.

DOT's picture

The Merchant Banks that provide these card programs may yet prove to be the lowest of life forms. The Bigs just keep rolling the program costs and the Smalls get shit rates and new fees. Truely the plastic economy is an anathema. If I may, I will call-out to one such den of thieves, Trans First. Take your previously undisclosed fees and shove them!







I feel better now.


DavidPierre's picture

' maybe until 'curnecy' ...? {2nd poster@ bottom}

Currency... maybe fix, although not yours?


williambanzai7's picture

I noticed that...not my work ;-)

WaterWings's picture

BTW, I cannot, and will not, believe that you are one human being. I will let history sort it out.

But I will confidently relate to my grandchildren that Banzai7 and Cognitive Dissonance were some of the most fucking amazing propagandists for good in my time.

Heil Banzai and CogDis!!!