Essay — Gift Cards

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When I was a kid, I collected trading cards. Now I collect gift cards from anyone and everyone in Carpenter Country who asks, “What would you like for (fill in the blank)?”

As you may have guessed, I stockpile these wonderful mini-presents and use them throughout the year.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Yesterday, the guy who shares my space and I lunched at a steak house on one I’d received months ago for my birthday. Then we drove to a sporting goods store to buy boots with two left over from Father’s Day.

Wow! Free eating and shopping—a grand way to spend an afternoon.

There’s some controversy about who invented plastic gift cards. But I remember before they were plastic, they were paper and called gift certificates. Unfortunately, when color copiers and printers arrived on the scene, counterfeiters began causing problems.

A few years later, Starbucks and Gilt launched a limited edition solid stainless steel gift card (5,000 cards, priced at $450). The glitzy cards came preloaded with $400 and sold out in minutes.

No one ever gave me one of those. It’s probably a good thing because the metal cards immediately became collectables, and I like to spend my gift cards, whatever shape, form, or amount they come in.

I also love to give them, and so does my writing partner.

So, we’re asking, “What would you like for (fill in the blank)?”

We’re hoping your answer will be—a book.

Plus, since your opinion counts, we’re hoping you’ll check out our new web site, browse through our books, and gift us with lots of comments.

Though we can’t offer anyone a chance to win $5,000 or a limited edition gift card that might turn into a collectable, we’re very good at saying, “Thank you!”


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We write. Visit us in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like our stories, is unreal but not untrue.

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