The Gift Card Economy

Dubner and Levitt (of Freakonomics fame) have written an interesting column in the NYT concerning gift cards and other items that are purchased and go unused (gym memberships, prescription drugs.) They talk about some of the things we mention on this site…including gift card breakage (the term for the $16 million dollars in unused gift card cash Best Buy got to keep last year.) They also include some helpful advice:

    Next year, if you need a gift for a strict rationalist, consider cash. If you want to appeal to someone’s wild self, you’ll have to use your imagination. And if you’re hoping to send a little something extra to the shareholders of Best Buy or the Gap or Tiffany, consider a gift card.

And get a month-to-month gym membership. —MEGHANN MARCO

The Gift-Card Economy[New York Times via Freakonomics Blog]