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1/22/2020 12:12:56 PM
Posted: 9/15/2009 1:48:33 PM EST
Does anyone get those gift cards from the cash register lines for later use as a prep? I was going thru a couple of mine and realized they would be a good idea should there come a day when the dollar crashes, or there's a bank holiday. Since they're money already spent isn't the only risk inflation or dollar devaluation? If the dollar is replaced by the IMF, there will be an immediate decrease in it's worth. An ensuing bank run as people try to get more of their money to buy the same items will make the dollar scarce for a time (bank holiday).
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 2:06:59 PM EST
I would not consider gift cards a good "prep". Why would you want cash tied up in something instead of in your hands?

When the dollar crashes your last concern will be redeeming your gift cards.
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 2:08:33 PM EST
Wouldn’t it be better to just buy the items you need now rather then saving gift cards? You don’t have to be concerned with inflation if you have everything you need.
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 2:48:28 PM EST
Originally Posted By tenOC:
Does anyone get those gift cards from the cash register lines for later use as a prep? I was going thru a couple of mine and realized they would be a good idea should there come a day when the dollar crashes, or there's a bank holiday. Since they're money already spent isn't the only risk inflation or dollar devaluation? If the dollar is replaced by the IMF, there will be an immediate decrease in it's worth. An ensuing bank run as people try to get more of their money to buy the same items will make the dollar scarce for a time (bank holiday).


This is a bad idea on several levels.

First, if the company goes bankrupt they are under no obligation to redeem or make good on the cards. Lotsa folks lately have discovered this the hard way. Also, many have expiration dates and you'd have to stay on top of them. Let's say an economic crisis occurs that is so bad that no one wants greenbacks; isnt that a bad enough crisis that the likelihood of the store manager saying "No, we dont want any of those crappy $100 bils but..oh, wait, you've got one of our Gift Cards? Well! Thats different!" seems pretty low. If things get that bad your bargaining power would probably be better enhanced with a box of hollowpoints or a canned ham.

I would think that a stack of $20 bill, or its equivalent in other goods, in my backpack would go alot further than an equal value stack of WalMart and Home Depot gift cards. Carry it even further, if it isnt a global economic meltdown but, say, a hurricane you still have no electricity to run the card readers or verify the cards authenticity (let alone the fact the stores will probably be closed anyway)...so, again, cash or an equivalent trade good might be a better idea.

A 'bank holiday' simply means the banks are closed and arent transacting. That in itself won't devalue cash, so you'd be better served with cash rather than cards. If youre really worried about the value of your currency declining to the point of Weimaresqueness then buy the stuff you think you'll need now and/or buy things that will have value in a collapsing/collapsed economy.




Link Posted: 9/15/2009 4:38:29 PM EST
Not to mention they either devalue or expire after a year. My FIL was sitting on over 400.00 worth of Bass pro cards from past Christmas and Father days. Got to the register and only had about 75.00 in current cards, thats in the fine print they dont tell you about.
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 5:57:22 PM EST
I'm lost as to how this could ever be a good idea.

Dollar devalues- ballance of card is in dollars.
Bank closes- card is limited to one store only, and there is no assurance that card is anymore likely to work than credit card. (credit card can be paid wiht dollars kept in a interest earning account- if worried about bank failure, keep money in same bank as credit card.)
Little or no fraud protection.
Possable loss of value over time with card.

Cash could be a good idea. Small balances (or large balances) in banks could be a good idea.
And I don't get how the IMF could replace dollars, unless we let it happen- Even then it would get replaced with metals, some sort of asset backed security, or the currency of some other physical country or group of counties. (Ie euro, peso, whatever.)
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 6:08:22 PM EST
I would not consider gift cards a good "prep". Why would you want cash tied up in something instead of in your hands?

When the dollar crashes your last concern will be redeeming your gift cards.

When the dollar crashes, your last concern will be having a fist full of unused cash that is now unusable. I don't have to negotiate my card against a Mexican Peso like the Argentinians had to do when they devalued their dollar, if I get rid of them quickly. There's always something you didn't buy, but would if you saw the price was about the triple.

Wouldn’t it be better to just buy the items you need now rather then saving gift cards? You don’t have to be concerned with inflation if you have everything you need.

Only if I had some place to store all those things. What if I don't know that I need fence posts around my garden, rat poison for an infestation or more buckets and rope for something? What if I need something that I don't know about until I need it?

This is a bad idea on several levels.

First, if the company goes bankrupt they are under no obligation to redeem or make good on the cards. Lotsa folks lately have discovered this the hard way. Also, many have expiration dates and you'd have to stay on top of them. Let's say an economic crisis occurs that is so bad that no one wants greenbacks; isnt that a bad enough crisis that the likelihood of the store manager saying "No, we dont want any of those crappy $100 bils but..oh, wait, you've got one of our Gift Cards? Well! Thats different!" seems pretty low. If things get that bad your bargaining power would probably be better enhanced with a box of hollowpoints or a canned ham.

I would think that a stack of $20 bill, or its equivalent in other goods, in my backpack would go alot further than an equal value stack of WalMart and Home Depot gift cards.


That's not a good argument against.
They're under no obligations to serve you now, so there's no difference. In fact, this year I had a big box hardware store refuse to take my $100 bill without going thru self check out. Talk about an alarm going off in your head... No kidding, the cashier would not take cash money unless I had something smaller. It's coming. The card is the preferred method now and everybody knows it, so it's got it's place.
Carry it even further, if it isnt a global economic meltdown but, say, a hurricane you still have no electricity to run the card readers or verify the cards authenticity (let alone the fact the stores will probably be closed anyway)...so, again, cash or an equivalent trade good might be a better idea.

Closed store? How does having cash help me when the store is closed?
(1) Only a few states even have hurricanes. So they're an exception, not the rule. (2) If it's a hurricane, tornado, fire, earthquake or man made disaster, it's only a localized event. I will probably be on the move. So why would I stop at a place that has no power? I'm going to a place that has the comforts I'm leaving for. Also, many of those major stores have backup generators to power those cash registers, because they like to make money to stay open. HD and Walmart don't hand write receipts when the power goes out. They make you leave. So, those aren't really good reasons, IMO. Gee sir, I'd love to sell you that tiki torch and portable generator, but you've only got one of OUR gift cards where you already have given us the money. Too bad you don't have cash.

A 'bank holiday' simply means the banks are closed and arent transacting. That in itself won't devalue cash, so you'd be better served with cash rather than cards. If youre really worried about the value of your currency declining to the point of Weimaresqueness then buy the stuff you think you'll need now and/or buy things that will have value in a collapsing/collapsed economy.


It won't devalue it. It will make it scarce and in demand. That's not what I said. I said the IMF announces it just dropped the dollar as world currency. That's your devaluation. I can't live on hollow points, they offer no nutritional value. I can buy hand tools, fresh seeds and the things I didn't know that I needed. Good ideas for your backpack, but why can't you have a stack of 20s and some store gift cards? I don't own a backpack, because I don't see the need right now. Do you think you're ready right now, for anything that comes, or is there something you still need or didn't plan for? I don't know anybody that has it all right now. What chance do you think you have at getting your money on Monday when the government announces at 6 PM Friday that all cash extractions from banks ended as of 5 PM (bank holiday) lasting for 7 days? If a retailer can't conduct banking business, why does he want more cash that he has to hold and protect? Cash that every zombie in town needs to buy food? He wants an electronic trans that is gone with the push of a key. You're going to wish that you had $200 worth of anything to spend on those last items (like pet food, a pound of yeast or fuel for your vehicles).

Not to mention they either devalue or expire after a year. My FIL was sitting on over 400.00 worth of Bass pro cards from past Christmas and Father days. Got to the register and only had about 75.00 in current cards, thats in the fine print they dont tell you about.


In that line of thinking I shouldn't store food, water and other perishables because they lose nutritional value over a period of time, no? I'm not seeing a valid objection. I think they're a decent prep. If you know they are valid for one yr and some then begin to lose $5 per month, I don't see how that's different than watching the expiration dates on a jar of applesauce. I always need something from HD, Lowes or the grocery store.

Actually thinking about it, grocery stores offer organizations a bennie for using those cards. I've seen community groups selling them for use in buying your groceries (you do buy groceries every month) and the card seller gets a 5% bump that goes toward something. I've seen homeowners groups selling these in a neighborhood. The 'hood gets 5% for their "whatever" items and it doesn't cost you any more to use the cards. With grocery cards, you just use them every time you buy food. That way you always have some credit on the card but you spend it so quickly, it will never make it past a month. And you aren't carrying a stack of 20s.
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 6:41:06 PM EST
Originally Posted By Country_Boy:
I'm lost as to how this could ever be a good idea.

Dollar devalues- ballance of card is in dollars.

I already stated in the OP that it's not a hedge against inflation. Neither is cash.
Bank closes- card is limited to one store only, and there is no assurance that card is anymore likely to work than credit card. (credit card can be paid wiht dollars kept in a interest earning account- if worried about bank failure, keep money in same bank as credit card.)
There's no guarantee that all banks don't fail, or that you'll be allowed to use your credit card or have access to your dollars in that account. Why not take the middle man out? The interest they're paying isn't worth the effort for me. And where did I say you're limited to only one card at one store? I buy cards from stores that I already buy stuff at. Moot point. I shop at less than 10 stores, five primarily. One grocery store, two gas stores, Target and either Lowes or HD. And why would I want ALL my dollars in an account for a credit card if I could have SOME dollars in my hand that I have 24 hr access to when I don't for bank dollars? That could go along with my cash preps.
It's the same principal as travelers checks. Do people prefer travelers checks and debit cards over cash when going thru a strange area far from their home?
Little or no fraud protection.
How so? What great frauds are stores experiencing now? Are you thinking they're for a long term event? I'm thinking for a short term method of attaining something quickly before all angles are stopped by the machine. They're usually only good for a year.
Possable loss of value over time with card.
Same as food. Moot point.

Cash could be a good idea. Small balances (or large balances) in banks could be a good idea.
And I don't get how the IMF could replace dollars, unless we let it happen- Even then it would get replaced with metals, some sort of asset backed security, or the currency of some other physical country or group of counties. (Ie euro, peso, whatever.)

Like in Argentina where Ferfal lives? If you've read his posts they devalued their dollar overnight. If you already have metals or other securities, why would you NOT want a card that you have a balance on when everyone else is standing around trying to figure out how to buy the stuff they need? And the vast majority of American people didn't see that the Bush Bailout and Obama Spendulus could happen unless we allowed it too. And yet they did.

Here's another bent. Say there's an event where you aren't able to get all the cash you need right away, and you need something specific right now. In every event there is always a shortage of something, always. There's always an opportunity to make out if you move quickly enough, even if it's roofing shingles and tarps. If cash is hte shortage and if I'm able to buy something that you need but can't, then you're going to have to offer me something to get it. Now it's out of the store and all you have to do is make a barter deal to get it from me. Since you need it and I don't...you have to convince me.
When R12 got regulated I bought a 30 lb cyl for under $300. I held it for awhile and sold it for $500.
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 6:41:21 PM EST
Originally Posted By tenOC:
I would not consider gift cards a good "prep". Why would you want cash tied up in something instead of in your hands?

When the dollar crashes your last concern will be redeeming your gift cards.

When the dollar crashes, your last concern will be having a fist full of unused cash that is now unusable. I don't have to negotiate my card against a Mexican Peso like the Argentinians had to do when they devalued their dollar, if I get rid of them quickly. There's always something you didn't buy, but would if you saw the price was about the triple.

Wouldn’t it be better to just buy the items you need now rather then saving gift cards? You don’t have to be concerned with inflation if you have everything you need.

Only if I had some place to store all those things. What if I don't know that I need fence posts around my garden, rat poison for an infestation or more buckets and rope for something? What if I need something that I don't know about until I need it?

This is a bad idea on several levels.

First, if the company goes bankrupt they are under no obligation to redeem or make good on the cards. Lotsa folks lately have discovered this the hard way. Also, many have expiration dates and you'd have to stay on top of them. Let's say an economic crisis occurs that is so bad that no one wants greenbacks; isnt that a bad enough crisis that the likelihood of the store manager saying "No, we dont want any of those crappy $100 bils but..oh, wait, you've got one of our Gift Cards? Well! Thats different!" seems pretty low. If things get that bad your bargaining power would probably be better enhanced with a box of hollowpoints or a canned ham.

I would think that a stack of $20 bill, or its equivalent in other goods, in my backpack would go alot further than an equal value stack of WalMart and Home Depot gift cards.


That's not a good argument against.
They're under no obligations to serve you now, so there's no difference. In fact, this year I had a big box hardware store refuse to take my $100 bill without going thru self check out. Talk about an alarm going off in your head... No kidding, the cashier would not take cash money unless I had something smaller. It's coming. The card is the preferred method now and everybody knows it, so it's got it's place.
Carry it even further, if it isnt a global economic meltdown but, say, a hurricane you still have no electricity to run the card readers or verify the cards authenticity (let alone the fact the stores will probably be closed anyway)...so, again, cash or an equivalent trade good might be a better idea.

Closed store? How does having cash help me when the store is closed?
(1) Only a few states even have hurricanes. So they're an exception, not the rule. (2) If it's a hurricane, tornado, fire, earthquake or man made disaster, it's only a localized event. I will probably be on the move. So why would I stop at a place that has no power? I'm going to a place that has the comforts I'm leaving for. Also, many of those major stores have backup generators to power those cash registers, because they like to make money to stay open. HD and Walmart don't hand write receipts when the power goes out. They make you leave. So, those aren't really good reasons, IMO. Gee sir, I'd love to sell you that tiki torch and portable generator, but you've only got one of OUR gift cards where you already have given us the money. Too bad you don't have cash.

A 'bank holiday' simply means the banks are closed and arent transacting. That in itself won't devalue cash, so you'd be better served with cash rather than cards. If youre really worried about the value of your currency declining to the point of Weimaresqueness then buy the stuff you think you'll need now and/or buy things that will have value in a collapsing/collapsed economy.


It won't devalue it. It will make it scarce and in demand. That's not what I said. I said the IMF announces it just dropped the dollar as world currency. That's your devaluation. I can't live on hollow points, they offer no nutritional value. I can buy hand tools, fresh seeds and the things I didn't know that I needed. Good ideas for your backpack, but why can't you have a stack of 20s and some store gift cards? I don't own a backpack, because I don't see the need right now. Do you think you're ready right now, for anything that comes, or is there something you still need or didn't plan for? I don't know anybody that has it all right now. What chance do you think you have at getting your money on Monday when the government announces at 6 PM Friday that all cash extractions from banks ended as of 5 PM (bank holiday) lasting for 7 days? If a retailer can't conduct banking business, why does he want more cash that he has to hold and protect? Cash that every zombie in town needs to buy food? He wants an electronic trans that is gone with the push of a key. You're going to wish that you had $200 worth of anything to spend on those last items (like pet food, a pound of yeast or fuel for your vehicles).

Not to mention they either devalue or expire after a year. My FIL was sitting on over 400.00 worth of Bass pro cards from past Christmas and Father days. Got to the register and only had about 75.00 in current cards, thats in the fine print they dont tell you about.


In that line of thinking I shouldn't store food, water and other perishables because they lose nutritional value over a period of time, no? I'm not seeing a valid objection. I think they're a decent prep. If you know they are valid for one yr and some then begin to lose $5 per month, I don't see how that's different than watching the expiration dates on a jar of applesauce. I always need something from HD, Lowes or the grocery store.

Actually thinking about it, grocery stores offer organizations a bennie for using those cards. I've seen community groups selling them for use in buying your groceries (you do buy groceries every month) and the card seller gets a 5% bump that goes toward something. I've seen homeowners groups selling these in a neighborhood. The 'hood gets 5% for their "whatever" items and it doesn't cost you any more to use the cards. With grocery cards, you just use them every time you buy food. That way you always have some credit on the card but you spend it so quickly, it will never make it past a month. And you aren't carrying a stack of 20s.


One of the lessons from katrina was the debit/cc/gift cards machines were OFFLINE. Cash is king.
They are a waste of time and money IMHO. Like one of the posters said, why not buy what you need instead of cards?

Now, there is a value in "receiving" them from family or friends who would not normally buy you what you'd want for birthdays or christmas. I get them and buy ammo, gun stuff etc.... heh!
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 7:43:28 PM EST
You don't address any of the issues. There is little or nothing the cards offer you over a credit card. With a credit card you have protection against fraud, and unless you are a total idiot (ie not checking your statements) you will not have to wait until an emergency to find out your card is worthless. (I have had an amazon gift cert get hacked, and had a Lowes card go bad in my wallet (stripe woudn't read and 2 numbers were illegable up under the peel off layer).

While the dollars in cash or a checking account can loose value, they don't not magically shrink over time as with many gift cards over a year old.

There is no analogy with food. Food is a good, a gift card is money. Most people expect food to spoil over time. People in the USA, at least post civil war, do not expect money to spoil. Other forms of money, other than swiss bank accounts do not loose dollar value over time.

And while savings accounts barely pay anything now, inflation is pretty damn low. When inflation hit double digits, savings accounts, CD, etc did pretty good vs cash (do nothing alternative)

People usually use travelers checks as a hedge against theft- will your gift cards be repalced if stolen?

The one way somethign like a gift card would help is if it did somethign cash didn't do. For example, in DC, having a Metro car pre purchased could be a great bugout asset, as "unexpected" pasangers have to wait in line. Either a credit card, debit card, or gift card would be an asset in refueling at stations they require prepay. Actually this assumes some urgency or security risk a gift card would tie you to only one brand of fuel not a good thind in a bugout./bughome.fuel shortage.


BTW, Someone said during katrina, cash was king- not true. Due to lack of physical security, as soon as mechants could process credit cards (carbon forms and cell phones), merchants prefered credit cards- No one wanted to be carrying home the night's deposit. The telecom infrastructure was more robust than the NOLAPD, partucularly for merchants with VSATs. OTOH, gas stations in the huntsville area (400 mi from the gulf) had credit card issues with the high winds knocking the VSATs off. From personal experience this was not the case with Hugo, Andrew, Georges, Ivan, Opal, etc.
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 9:05:53 PM EST
if things are going that badly everyone is going to have a cash only policy.
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 9:29:35 PM EST
Cash will work in most situations, some amount of pre-paid Visa/Mastercards might be ok, but the problem with gift cards is think of you purchased a bunch of Circuit City cards ... (They went out of business and then you have to get in line with the rest of the creditors) Something like Lowe's or Home Depot also might be useful in small amounts.
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 11:43:36 PM EST
very bad idea
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 5:44:48 AM EST
What I'm saying about food and the cards similarity is they both expire over time, but you know the date that they expire because it's printed on the card. I'll probably lean to the travelers check.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 6:31:36 AM EST
Gift cards are just electronic cash. If cash is devalued, so is your card. You cards are measured in dollars.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 6:34:45 AM EST
I agree - Cash is Good, Store cards are a bad way to prep. Get a tin can and try to drop a couple bucks in there every chance you get. Cash on hand in a crisis is very important as ATMs may be down, banks may be closed, and credit cards don't work. Then again, the gift cards ight not work too...

Link Posted: 9/16/2009 6:37:56 AM EST
Originally Posted By Q3131A:
Gift cards are just electronic cash. If cash is devalued, so is your card. You cards are measured in dollars.


This^ plus more restrictions/limitations vs. cash/credit.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 6:42:12 AM EST
Originally Posted By Daisycutter123:
Originally Posted By Q3131A:
Gift cards are just electronic cash. If cash is devalued, so is your card. You cards are measured in dollars.


This^ plus more restrictions/limitations vs. cash/credit.


Already covered in the opening post.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 6:52:17 AM EST

Originally Posted By tenOC:
Originally Posted By Daisycutter123:
Originally Posted By Q3131A:
Gift cards are just electronic cash. If cash is devalued, so is your card. You cards are measured in dollars.


This^ plus more restrictions/limitations vs. cash/credit.


Already covered in the opening post.

Anyways, as said it is a really bad idea... I try to spend gift cards as soon as I get them. I try to keep cash around...

Link Posted: 9/16/2009 3:33:21 PM EST
Originally Posted By Country_Boy:
You don't address any of the issues. There is little or nothing the cards offer you over a credit card. With a credit card you have protection against fraud, and unless you are a total idiot (ie not checking your statements) you will not have to wait until an emergency to find out your card is worthless. (I have had an amazon gift cert get hacked, and had a Lowes card go bad in my wallet (stripe woudn't read and 2 numbers were illegable up under the peel off layer).

While the dollars in cash or a checking account can loose value, they don't not magically shrink over time as with many gift cards over a year old.

There is no analogy with food. Food is a good, a gift card is money. Most people expect food to spoil over time. People in the USA, at least post civil war, do not expect money to spoil. Other forms of money, other than swiss bank accounts do not loose dollar value over time.

And while savings accounts barely pay anything now, inflation is pretty damn low. When inflation hit double digits, savings accounts, CD, etc did pretty good vs cash (do nothing alternative)

People usually use travelers checks as a hedge against theft- will your gift cards be repalced if stolen?

The one way somethign like a gift card would help is if it did somethign cash didn't do. For example, in DC, having a Metro car pre purchased could be a great bugout asset, as "unexpected" pasangers have to wait in line. Either a credit card, debit card, or gift card would be an asset in refueling at stations they require prepay. Actually this assumes some urgency or security risk a gift card would tie you to only one brand of fuel not a good thind in a bugout./bughome.fuel shortage.


BTW, Someone said during katrina, cash was king- not true. Due to lack of physical security, as soon as mechants could process credit cards (carbon forms and cell phones), merchants prefered credit cards- No one wanted to be carrying home the night's deposit. The telecom infrastructure was more robust than the NOLAPD, partucularly for merchants with VSATs. OTOH, gas stations in the huntsville area (400 mi from the gulf) had credit card issues with the high winds knocking the VSATs off. From personal experience this was not the case with Hugo, Andrew, Georges, Ivan, Opal, etc.



Where I was in NOLA, it was king. CC's, debit atms all down. Even if you could find gas, you better have cash. Most store owners I saw were all armed...
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 3:47:33 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/16/2009 3:48:21 PM EST by Windjammer223]
My Wally World cards,ATM and CCs did not work in Rita. Data lines (what ever the hell those are) were down. Cash was accepted the entire time. Do what you want but in my experience I'll keep cash. No one was taking checks. WJ
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 4:31:07 PM EST
All are tools to be used as the situation allows.

SHTF I'll use a CC or debit card as much as possible to preserve my cash on me. gift cards for stores really get spent ASAP to allow me to carry more cash, I dont think a GC is the best option when there are more flexible alternatives available.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 6:14:18 PM EST
Let's recap. It's a horrible idea because:

1) Gift cards are valued in dollars, not euro or pesos. They are equivalent to US currency (at one store only). If the dollar drops in value so does your gift card.

2) A lot of them have expiration dates and limiting terms/conditions.

3) In some SHTF situations electronic verification will be down and cash will be king.

4) Credit cards/debit cards work just as well (if electronic verification is up) but don't tie up your money that could be earning interest (piddly as it may be) somewhere else

5) You get more safeguards/fraud protections/rewards from using credit/debit cards - and they are not limited to one store

6) You can't easily convert the value of the card into money usable somewhere else and would likely take a hefty loss if you tried (i.e. buy something at your gift card store, sell it for less to someone who would give you cash)

7) What if the store you bought your gift card at is out of what you need, but the store next door has it where your gift card is no good....

8) If the store goes bankrupt there goes your money....

Bottom line: if electronic money floats your boat there are much better alternatives (credit/debit cards), otherwise cash is king. Gift cards offer no benefits (retailers love them because they get to make interest on your money and a large portion of people never spend all of it before they expire, that is those that don't lose them).
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 6:43:27 PM EST
+1 Horrible idea

HomelandDefender summed it up nicely.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 12:09:10 AM EST
When Sharper Image decided to close their stores they wouldn't accept any gift cards for purchases. It didn't matter how recently they were purchased before the announcement.
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