Monday, October 16, 2006

Gift Cards Part II

If you have to give gift cards, these are the kind you want (not these). True, you can only use them at Target stores. But I would assume that if you’re giving them to someone, that someone lives near a Target.

Gift cards are easy. There are displays of them all over the store, with a decent selection right by the register. You know where the magazines, candy, and/or impulse items are? The gift card display is right above that, on both sides of the lane. Just grab one you like and hand it to the cashier.

You can put any amount you want on the card, from pennies to thousands of dollars (be warned, though: if you put more than a few on, I’ll have to check with Assets Protection). It doesn’t even have to be a round number. You want to give someone, say, $17.76 for the Fourth of July? Go for it.

Now, interestingly, new cashiers aren’t always told how to process these, so I’ll walk you through it.

We can ring up the gift card at any point before we total up your purchase. We scan the bar code on the back of the card (usually with the scan gun; it’s easier), then type in the amount the card is worth. No sales tax; no discounts. In fact, if you use the 10% that goes with your Target Red Card, it won’t apply to any gift cards you purchase.

When your purchase is complete, your gift card will be activated. You can use it immediately, if you like. Or, you can hold onto it; they don’t depreciate, which is nice.

When you use your gift card to buy things, you need to be a bit more mindful. You cannot, for instance, feed the gift card into the card reader. It probably won’t fit; if it fits, it’ll probably get stuck; if it doesn’t get stuck, it still won’t work.

Also, if you are using a gift card and a credit or debit card, do not feed the other card into the reader. If you do, then when I hit the “Total” button, the amount will automatically go onto your card, and I cannot apply the gift card.

Instead, as soon as I total things, give me any gift cards you are using (you can use as many as you want). I’ll scan them, and the amount will automatically come off the card and go toward your purchase. Anything left over will be evident on your receipt. Once we’re done with the gift cards, you can go on with whatever payment method you like.

Yes, we can check your card to see how much is left on it. But not during a transaction; that’s a separate function that we cannot access on the registers in the middle of ringing things up.

You may be asked if you want the card back, even if it is empty. Please don’t look at us like we’re crazy; we’re supposed to offer (though we often don’t). If you don’t want it back, it’s fine. We’ll take care of it. If you do, say so, even if we don’t ask. Plenty of people keep them for scrapbooks, or for their kids to play with. In fact, once my GSTL bought two gift cards for, like, a dollar each, because one had a toy card attached and the other had a picture of Elmo on it; his son just wanted to play with them. And if you want to do that, you’re welcome to it.

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