Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Watching Top Chef, eating Top Ramen
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Deb... I dunno. Suppose you are big company like B&N... you sell a truck load of these things every year. You know, from market research, etc that x% will be redeemed within a month. y% in 2-12 months and z% longer than that or never. (Lost, thrown away, whatever..) You have to keep carrying that $ amount over year after year. The amount of money you have outstanding on the books could become quite impressive in say, 10 years. So I suppose at some point they just use those research numbers to write off the 'debt'. BUT! Suppose by some fluke one year an unprecedented number of the very old, already written off cards comes back... it could be a financial nightmare!
Not that I am saying it's okay... just looking at it from all sides. It seems to me that this is the bed retailers have made for themselves, now they must lie in it. Old fashioned actual 'gift certificates' printed on paper generally had an expiration date but it was written clearly on the front of the thing so the holder KNEW when it went poof. And it wasn't pro-rated per month either. One day it's as good as a twenty dollar bill.. the next it's TP. But everyone understood. For some reason (and if anyone knows, tell me!) all the large retailers have gone to those twee little cards that look like credit cards. Well, apparently they have expiration dates too.. but it is a well kept secret from the person holding it! Not cool.