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August 18, 2008

Mall Gift Certificates

When they first came out with gift certificates you could use throughout a shopping mall I was confused as to how they would pull that off without making a big mess. Well it seems that they create a credit card with a depreciating balance. Sounds simple enough then, it just gets rung up at the till like any other credit card. But seeing as they generally have such a small balance, your purchase is going to be well in excess of its value. That's where the fun comes in as most stores can't accept payment via two credit cards. So you are stuck with whatever payment combo limitations they have. In order to spend these gift certificates I've been forced to obtain a store credit card and do all kinds of weird money transfer/purchase/laundering/juggling transactions to get it to work. The most recent transaction involved purchasing a store gift card in the amount of the balance of the mall gift card, in this case I had two gift cards and that required two separate purchase transactions, one for each card. Then using the two store gift cards against the merchandise purchase along with my credit card. Oddly the gift cards have an expiry of January 1, 3025, ya, over a 1000 years into the future, who picked that? The clerks are always confused too and present a very confusing set of options. It starts with, nope can't do it, wait, maybe we can do this or that, do you want to do this or that? I don't care what you have to make the cash register do, here's my gift certificate and my credit card, make it so.

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