More Retailers Go Bankrupt and You Still Want To Own Gift Cards?

Last Saturday, without notice, Future Shop ceased to exist. Best Buy, the parent company, closed 66 or so stores immediately, and about the same number will be closed for a week, then reopen as Best Buy. Two days earlier, the parent company of Ricki’s, Cleo and Bootlegger filed for bankruptcy. The week before, XS Cargo went under, and Mexx, as well as Jacob’s closed operations in Canada, in addition to the bankruptcy of Target Canada.

These companies going under isn’t something they are going to advertise in advance. So, once again, I’ll ask: Why on earth do you want to own or give any gift cards? You’ve given them your cash which never goes bad, in the hope that store will still be around when you or the recipient of that gift wants to use it? How many more scares do you need to realize gift cards are not your friend. You’re turning cash that can be used anywhere and anytime into an IOU for one specific store, and it’ll be wiped out when those businesses go under.

If you have Target gift cards, you may want to try using them online with Target US. With XS Cargo, Jacob’s, Mexx, Ricki’s, Cleo and Bootlegger you’re out of luck. Since Best Buy didn’t go under yet, the Future Shop gift cards can be used in their stores, so you dodged a big bullet for now. Make this a big heads up to gift cash that doesn’t expire, has no fees or restrictions and doesn’t go bad. Don’t stick someone you’re gifting with something that may be worthless when they want to use it! If you absolutely have to gift a piece of plastic, make it a prepaid Visa or Mastercard. It’ll have an upfront fee of $2 or $3 but that’s buying peace of mind it’ll be good next week or next year!

One more quick thing:

Good bye Suze Orman. She won’t have her CNBC television show anymore. I’m not a fan, but that’s a personal opinion. I lost a lot of respect for her being spokesperson for one of the fastest depreciating vehicle lines in North America. Plus, telling callers to diversify their investments, buy mutual funds, etc. when personally she only has Municipal Bonds as investments. There’s a great Slate Magazine expose on Orman from a few years ago.

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