I hate gift vouchers.
I hate giving them, because I think it smacks of a lack of imagination, or simply an unwillingness to spend more than a few minutes imagining what another person would actually like to receive.
And I hate receiving them. Not that I am judging the person who gave them to me - I appreciate any gesture of affection and generosity. But I am normally just too embarrassed to use them. I am afraid that the person behind the counter will think that I am a difficult customer who has a credit from previously returned items. And I hate the way it's normally a big fuss when you present one - "Evelyn, do you know how to process a gift voucher?" - everyone behind you in the line snarling and shifting angrily.
I realise that this is a problem. I also hate discount vouchers - especially for paltry amounts - and I refuse to use them. I figure the shame involved is simply not worth any monetary gains. And loyalty programs - MAN I hate those. And coffee cards. I'd rather just hand over the money and get out.
I think this is partly a result of being brought up to cause a minimum of fuss - my childhood mantra was "don't cause any trouble for anyone else." It's also a result of working in retail for so many years and witnessing how abominably people will behave in order to get something free or cheap. I hate the sense of entitlement, and the way it demeans everyone and causes so many to dispense with any sense of manners or reserve. I once witnessed a woman go into a screaming fit because a staff member unwittingly neglected to give her a 40 cent discount.
Call me arrogant, call me stupid, but I'd just rather pay full price for things and leave with my dignity intact.


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