Serendipity – priceless!
I worked retail, I know that when people buy gift certificates the odds are partial to the retailer from the getgo. Gift certificate sales are a brilliant opportunity to take money straight to the bank. To be clear the retailer is selling zip. It’s true you do get either a piece of plastic with a bar-code, or you might get a gift enclosure detailing specific terms for the product or service with a reference number scratched in the corner, which you trust will save you should the card be mislaid. It’s hardly a chimerical gift however its rapidly becoming the gift of choice. It’s a proxy gift and you had better hold on to it. Put it in a “secure” place. If you’re a scatterbrain like me, I suggest telling someone where this “secure place” is.
You see the moment the G.C. is in your possession all bets are off. It could be permanently consigned to oblivion at a moments notice. Retailers are able to sit on these funds for months without having to apply the sale to a product or service – it’s the perfect sale. They’re counting on 2 things: misplacement or loss and therefore expiration – they want it to be an invalid/obsolete transaction. Last year $8 million dollars worth of gift certificates were lost, 27 % remain unused, yet they continue to rise in popularity*.
I have to ask you, how many gift certificates have you misplaced? never found? or found too late ? They seem to simply vanish into thin air! There are hundreds, conceivably thousands of G.C.’s that get buried inside Christmas wrapping or birthday card envelopes or mysteriously filed or wedged between paid bills however, I have yet to hear of a G.C. turning up in the trash or the recycling bin despite the inevitable garbage picking frenzy which occurs in every home several times per year.
Today I spent the greater part of my morning looking for you guessed it, a gift certificate. It was for my hair salon, my sister had given it to me for Christmas. I looked high and I looked low. I went through sundry papers, files, bureaus and closets. I looked through handbags, coat pockets, books, sock and underwear drawers, baskets and rubber-maids. I even looked through Christmas CD cases. Then for some bizarre reason I looked inside my “fake” book (which is essentially a box), which has up until now not been used for anything but random odds and sods. Bingo! Inside was an envelope! I hastened to open it. It was a fricking gift certificate! However it was not the one that I had searched for. Instead it was a gift certificate for a manicure and pedicure which my daughters had given me for Christmas in 2009! The expiration date said December 2010. Rats! it was expired by 2 months! I was neither thwarted nor derailed. I had nearly given up hope of finding this. (For the record, several bombed quests were executed to find this G.C. within the last year.) Finding another card was sheer brilliance on my part. My foraging had conjured up a must have for recuperation of some variation. In an instant I was on the phone calling the salon to see if there was any chance that I could still redeem the manicure and pedicure despite the glaring expiration date. YESSSSSS! The galaxies had abruptly re-aligned and were providing me with pithy proof that there is a Gift Certificate God. At the end of the day I’m still out one gift certificate however, I’m really looking forward to my mani/pedi appointment next week. As for the errant G.C.? I’m pretty confident the stars will once again resolve to configure for another C.G. spotting. Have faith my friends.