Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

Using a gift card without hurling a tantrum

There’s a general rule in the realm of consumerism today, and that is that if you don’t get what you want at a store, just go completely berserk and watch employees cower in terror.

It may work, but it’s really not nice to be nasty to people just because they’re trying to enforce a few rules.

Last weekend, I was about to use a gift card at a Starbucks, and believe it or not the service was very satisfactory. It all began because someone who has me doing some freelance writing wanted to meet with me at a nearby Starbucks so we could discuss the project. Also, I needed to hand off some files so I brought a thumb drive that he could connect to his laptop.

Several months ago, I participated in an astronomy event at an elementary school. Me and other members of the astronomy club went to the school for its science night, and at the end the woman who organized the event gave each of us a Starbucks gift card to thank us for bringing the universe to the kids.

It was a kind gesture, and she really didn’t have to do it, but I accepted the card.

I had it in a drawer, and really had no idea how much was on the card, but on Sunday I decided to use it, figuring that if it was for $2.50 or something, or maybe not worth anything anymore, that was no biggie.

So we went to the Starbucks, placed an order and handed the card over. I cautioned the cashier that it might not have any value on it, then when I saw what looked like a flash of fear on her face, told her that it was OK if there was no value; I wouldn’t throw a fit.

She said that the cards never lose their value, unlike some other retailers’ gift cards, and after swiping it for my purchase, told me it had been for $10 and that there was still more than $6 of value on the card. One of these days, I’ll go back there and spend that remaining value.

Sometimes, being nice is its own reward.


March 31, 2009 - Posted by | Living in the modern age | , , , ,

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