Have you given me a gift card lately? If so, chances are pretty good that I love you… Nevertheless… Please don’t do it anymore, because gift cards are the Devil.
To be specific, gift cards are the ninja’s of the market place… They strike so precise, that you don’t even realize your ass was just kicked. They’re the matured and refined version of shady business, and we just can’t get enough of ’em.
I discovered the fraudulent process way back in the mid 90’s. Back then, phones were frequently “refilled” using “cards”, which could be purchased in various time blocks. So you bought a 60 minute card, entered the code, and you could use your phone for 60 minutes.
It was a relatively easy process, so of course the billionaire companies that run the world, couldn’t wait to sink their greedy claws into it… Leaving us with the confusing, misleading, remnants of honest business… The Gift Card.
This is how I discovered it.
I bought a $25 card, which gave me 60 minutes of talk time, and I called and activated it. I later made a phone call for a few minutes. A few days later, I went to use the card again, and it didn’t work.
I called the company and told them about the problem that I was having, and they explained the following; The $25 card, had a $10 one-time activation fee, and if you used it during off-peak-hours, then they charged you 3 times the normal rate. Now there was only a few dollars left on the card, so unless I recharged it, it was worthless…
Well who in their right mind would recharge a deceptive card like that?
When I got home, I whipped out the magnifying glass, and sure enough, this was written on the back of the card, in hieroglyphics, upside down, and under a scratch off.
So I threw it away in 1995… Along with 2 million other consumers, but that $2 is still mine, and it’s sitting in a bank somewhere collecting interest… For the bank!
Turn the clock ahead 10 years… Verizon gives you a discounted cell phone with your plan, and when you buy it, there’s a mail in rebate. You go home, cut the UPC off the box (so that now you can’t return the phone anymore), and then you mail it off to Verizon… Along with a DNA sample, proof of citizenship, and a picture of your wife in the shower.
Three months later, Verizon sent you a $50 Visa Gift Card (if you were lucky), and you can just call this Game Over.
Their experiment was a massive success for them, and the businesses of the world followed their lead at an alarming rate.
Right off the bat, anyone who didn’t follow Verizon’s stringent eligibility process, was shot down in flames… So they probably made a good chunk-o-coin right there, but that’s not where the big bucks came from.
For those of us whom actually followed the instructions to the letter (which as I recall were only slightly less difficult than escaping Hell with your soul intact), we got a $50 Visa Gift Card!
Immediately upon receiving the gift card, you find your life becoming complicated. You have to carry it with you at all times, there’s no easy way of tracking the balance, not all places accept them, and some stores can’t run the cards unless you tell them the exact balance.
For those whom ever even use them… Just like with the phone card… you get down to $2 or $3 and you throw the card in your junk drawer.
Which brings us to modern day Gift Cards…
Now we live in gift-card-Utopia. Everyone gives them, everyone wants them, and everyone loves them. You might think that the store on the card is issuing it, but you’re probably wrong… It’s typically issued by a bank.
Why is the “hype” to use them so great? Because now your money is sitting in their bank, earning interest for them… and when you throw that card in the junk draw with only $1.75 on it… They’ll continue to profit off of you, for the remainder of eternity.
You might be thinking “that doesn’t sound very profitable for them”, but if you’ve read my other stories, then you know… That thought process in itself is part of the scam. Like I said… The Ninja’s of the market place!
No one’s going to complain about losing $1.75, and when they’re joined by 20 Million other consumers… The bank is sitting on the beach in Hawaii, drinking a Frozen Margarita, while you’re back at the stew factory taking meat in the can.
BTW, this is also how Credit Repair Services work too, and it’s why they’ve become so incredibly popular. They combine all of your debt, take a lump sum from you on the 1st of the month, and then pay all of your creditors on the 15th. Now all your damn money is sitting in their bank for two weeks a month, times millions of customers.
So what can you do… As for credit repair services… any creditor that you have trouble with, offers services for their customers in need. Sit down with your bills, call them one at a time, and do it yourself. If you got yourself into a mess, you’ll feel better if you get yourself out of it.
As for Gift Cards; Tell your family and friends about this story, and tell them not to buy you gift cards. That’ll cut most of it down right there. If you do get a gift card, take it to the store ASAP, and buy something that costs more than the cards value. That way, the card is spent, and you can light it on fire and send it back to Hell where it belongs.