Expiration Date

I’m going to let you guys in on something. Gift cards/certificates are the worst gift imaginable. 

In the old economy, sure. If you knew the person well enough, Circuit City or Borders might have been a great place to turn your hard earned fiat money into landfill fodder. These days, you’d do well to put it all into Krugerrands. 

Winds in the east, kids, and it’s not Mary Poppins. Destruction of biblical proportions, perhaps, but what I’m talking about is recession. 

Since World War II, every Republican president has presided over at least one recession a piece. Eisenhower had three. Four out of five Democrats did not. References, Google and my ass

People aren’t going to stop celebrating life, but you should stop forcing them to eat at Chili’s when all they want to do is pay their electric bill this month. 

Perhaps this is a stupid thing to be concerned about at this juncture, but they say to write what you know. Why wax philosophical about something I “learned” from Salon (founder David Talbot, no relation) yesterday when I can give you the beat on the street? 

Look, guys. Maybe there’s something embarrassing about receiving charity in America. We’re supposed to be the gods of ingenuity and industry, right? You’re out there driving railroad spikes every day so you can spend $1700 a month on health insurance. Taking hand-outs would be forfeiting your place in libertarian legend.

I predict we’re about to see how hard you actually are, ‘Muricans.

In my lucky 13 years in retail, I’ve witnessed just about everything that can go wrong when it comes to those worthless pieces of plastic, and it all could have been avoided had those folks been handed a big sweaty wad of money instead of Kohl’s cash. 

There’s nothing like losing thirty bucks because you got a Visa gift card locked at a gas station. Better yet, complete a shopping trip and present an erroneously unloaded gift certificate to your weary, underpaid cashier (Wanda, 15 years of service!) and watch the magic happen. 

Sure, Wal-Mart or Amazon might seem like a good investment today, but until the bank starts accepting that shit as legal tender, you’d be better off gifting someone water purification tablets or a book on raising chickens. 

We need to get over our hangups when it comes to handing over cold, hard cash. Someday soon when you pop over to Bartertown to fetch pig entrails and grain, you’ll be glad you’ve got those silver dollars jingling in your pocket instead of a Subway® gift card. 

I’ve heard there are still sandwich artists living over the mountains, behind a waterfall. Their mayor used to be a musician. He tells all the newcomers that with a sly wink, but everyone knows he’s Tom Petty.

“That’s him,” the sandwich artist behind Tom will tell you in a hoarse whisper. He’ll point at Tom’s back. “Tom Petty.”

You’ll present your Subway® gift card to him for inspection. He’ll furrow his brow. “Hrmmm,” he’ll say. 

“This seems to be expired.”