Ask The Fray: Where Can I Email Gift Certificates Anonymously?

Help reader OnoSideboard achieve the third level of tzedakah:

    I’m looking for a good online retailer that will let me send a gift certificate anonymously. I’d like something that offers a wide range of choices as I don’t know my intended recipient very well. I’ve checked with Amazon and Barnes & Noble–neither will allow me to email a gift certificate without divulging my identity. Do you know of anything?



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  1. motocopas says:

    At Citibank UK (with whom I have the unfortunate pleasure of banking) branches, no pens are ever to be found either at the 24 hour ATMs within the branch or at the counters.

  2. Sudonum says:

    “” might.It’s been awhile since I bought anything from them.

  3. Mike_ says:

    Why anonymous? If the person you’re staring at across the subway car squirms uncomfortably at your unblinking gaze, she probably doesn’t want you to buy her any presents. Even if you followed her home to learn where she lives, and picked through her garbage to find out her name.

    Secret Santa is one thing. Unsolicited anonymous gifts are another thing entirely. Don’t be creepy.

  4. AcilletaM says:

    and don’t sign the card with things like “I noticed through the window that you needed something new to sleep in…”. Stalker.

  5. junkmail says:

    LMAO, dangit. I came in here to post the same thing…

  6. gte910h says:

    You can buy Visa Cash and Amex Cash cards at stores, then anonomously mail them.


  7. Creeeeeeepy!

  8. acambras says:

    Did no one read what Ben wrote about tzedakah? He even linked to the wikipedia page on it!

  9. I think the problem with sending sanctioned anonymous gifts are exactly what is being mentioned above–

    Just use a fake name, duh :P Often times the name you put in doesn’t have to be the same as the billing address, say for instance, with

  10. OnoSideboard says:

    Ha. Thanks for the social advice, everyone, but this is for someone who did me a HUGE, unsolicited favor. He deserves a little good karma, and will probably know I am behind it. Jeez, I’m just trying to be nice without being all “look at me, I paid you back even though you were just being kind!”

    I’m sad for you guys… so very, very jaded.

  11. acambras says:

    Ono, I like the whole idea of tzedakah — I’d never heard of it until today. But yeah, I guess we Gentiles refer to it as stalking.

    You could do what something_amazing says and use a fake name. Who wouldn’t love to receive an gift certificate from Axl Rose?

  12. OnoSideboard says:

    Unfortunately, Amazon states that the billing address will be printed on the card. I’d just buy something with cash and mail it, but I don’t have his home address because I’m not a stalker (hee), just his email.

    My latest thought is to make a donation to cancer research or something in his name. He’ll get a notification and I’m pretty sure I can do it anonymously.

    acambras, I’d never heard of tzedakah until I clicked that link, either, but it is a neat idea. Of course, I’d like to think people are capable of doing “charity” for others without religion telling them to.

  13. acambras says:

    Absolutely. I’m not religious and still try to donate money or time to charitable causes.

    I like the cancer research idea. There are probably lots of charities that will accept your donation in honor of someone (I’ve also heard them called tribute donations) and send an acknowledgement to the person being honored. Like a memorial donation, except to honor someone living.

  14. ElizabethD says:

    I have no answers but I want to tell OhnoSideboard how much I love that screenname.

  15. Antediluvian says:

    I would personally not trust an anonymous gift certificate that arrives via email. I’d completely think it was phishing or just fraud or spam.

    To OnoSideboard, perhaps you should consider finding a 3rd party (a friend of yours or of this guy) to help you out.

    I’d also check again on the policies of Amazon etc about the printing of the billing address — that seems like divulging personal info (yours) to a 3rd party (his), in a way that doesn’t feel quite right. And, how is a “card” involved? You only have an email address, how does Amazon intend to send this “card” with your billing address printed on it? I think you might need to look more closely, maybe even call them up.

  16. Antediluvian says:

    ElizD– Gotta ask, what’s nifty about the name OnoSideboard?

  17. chameleon says:

    From what I hear, there are actually a great many people on the internets who have online relationships that, for whatever reason, do not involve their real identities. Shocking, I know, but true.

    I am certain these relationships cover the spectrum of morality, from the innocent to the…uh…not so much. (I’m talking to you, Congressman.) But the participants still want to give presents at Christmas because that’s what humans do.

    I think that is probably where the original question comes from. Think about it. Wouldn’t YOU wanna buy something slinky and sexy for the beer-bellied trucker who’s been pretending to be YOUR mistress online all these years?

    As for “OnoSideboard,” look under “Lennon, John” or “Beatles, The” or tell the band at the pub to play “Come Together”

  18. Jesse in Japan says:

    So why not just get a physical, paper gift certificate and put it in the mail with no return address and hope the Post Office doesn’t screw up?

  19. hardcle says:

    Have the gift certificate emailed to yourself. Once you have the redemption code use an anonymous email service to send it to the recipient.

  20. smash says:

    if you e-mail the gift certificate from amazon to the recipient, your billing address is not divulged. if you physically mail it, then yes.

    you dont’ have to put anything in the gift message, either. or just say “from the creepy stalker” or something in the from line. or put something in the gift message that lets them know it was actually FOR THEM and you don’t want to divulge who it is from.