Saturday, June 16, 2012

The gift that keeps taking

Stopping at City Market in Montrose, CO, the other day, I was taken aback by the extensive display of gift cards.  I had never seen that much potential shelf space devoted to these items.

There were even gift cards that you could charge up with your federal income tax refund and somehow thereby double your refund.

There is nothing like this in Boston stores.  Ever curious about things commercial, I did a quick survey of friends in various parts of the country  with the simple question, "Do your grocery stores have massive displays like this for sale of gift cards?"

A Maryland observer replied, "Not quite that big in one place but in general, yes. They must get something out of it since I understand that space in a grocery store is hotly competitive."

A California-based urban planner replied, "Yes.  Also not quite this big.  Could the size of the display be linked to Montrose's distance from a major metro area?  More online shopping, that is?"

So, dear readers, what's your take on this?  Am I the only one to live in a gift-card-deficient part of the country?  What's it like where you live?  Do you have a theory to explain the differences in different locations?

Meanwhile, you will be happy to know that there is a mobil app that helps you keep track of your gift cards and spend them, too.  It even uses the GPS in your iPhone to tell you that you are near a store for which you have a card.

Here is a goofy rogue video someone produced about how to use the GoWallet.  Don't miss the love story near the end. If you cannot see the video, click here . . . or just go do something more worthwhile!


Keith W. Boone said...

You must not shop to far from Boston. I've seen racks that large in grocery stores on the South Shore.

Anonymous said...

Central Ohio here, and tons of gift card displays, usually at the front of a center aisle. One chain (Giant Eagle) talks up how customers can buy gift cards, earn Giant Eagle reward points for those gift cards, and then get $ off their groceries. So maybe the gift card displays are related to stores having some kind of loyalty program?

purplestarr said...

I live between Chicago and Milwaukee and they are everywhere and have been for awhile - mostly grocery stores and drug stores and yes, they often take up a whole end cap.

Unknown said...

I'm from the south and all the stores have racks that large. It may be a urban vs. suburban thing? I like picking up gift cards at the grocery store because it's always much closer than driving halfway across town to the actual location for whatever gift card I'm buying. But centrally located grocery stores don't have as much of a proximity advantage...?