Something ALL stores should do!


Just found out that my favorite local bookstore will accept ANY gift card from ANY place in lieu of cash, so long as it’s active and they can verify how much is on it!

How incredible is that??

I even asked if they’d take my 5 year old Red Lobster card that I’ll never ever (ever!) use, and they said yup! Hand it on over! 🤣🤣🤣

books dancing gif

I can’t tell you how happy this makes me, haha… Such a small, yet super creative, way to keep your loyal fans happy. Especially when you know you can now cash your competing bookstore gift cards there too and convert even *more* new fans over time!

Can you imagine if places tried this against Starbucks or Walmart?? “Have a Starbucks gift card? Use it here at your favorite cafe instead where we’ll not only remember your name, but our coffees taste about 10x better anyways!” “Looking for a new bike for your kid? Cash in your Walmart gift cards here at Springfield Bikes and let us help you find the *perfect* fit for him!”

I’m not sure how many other places do this, or if it’s even a “thing” in general, but if you run any type of shop or organization yourself you should totally try this and see what happens ;)

I 90% guarantee it’ll go viral in your community, and maybe you can even test it a bit by targeting your more hardcore fans as a nice perk for shopping there all the time? “Get on our email list, and then go on a shopping spree with all your unused gift cards! Double the dollars for all [Competing Name] cards you bring in!” ;)

Now of course you’ll have to have a *plan* for what to do with all these cards when they come in, but there are tons of options depending on how you want to play it…

You can hawk them on one of those online card swapper/seller sites, donate them to your favorite local charities and boost your philanthropic arm of your store, or even just *use them* yourself over time which is apparently what this store owner is doing when he gets my Red Lobster card soon! Haha…

Which admittedly threw me off for a bit as I was certain he was going to go the charity route making me love them even MORE, but perhaps I’m wrong on that virality piece and they hardly receive any cards at all? Because they can’t believe it’s a real thing either, or maybe they’re too embarrassed to even try?

In either event, they’ve earned my business for good, and now I know exactly what I’ll be doing the next time any of my ventures require asking for money too ;) Everyone has unused gift cards laying around doing nothing, if you can convert them to something that MAKES YOU HAPPY it’s a win-win!

Has anyone else ever come across this before in their own towns?! Have you ever tried taking them up on their offer?

I know that merchants back in the 1800s used to do something similar when people couldn’t pay their bills during hard times, only instead of gift cards they’d accept things like tobacco or corn or teas. Basically anything they could get their hands on to use or trade away since it meant getting something vs nothing at all… I can’t see anyone these days going to that extreme, but the gift card route is a nice twist on it :)

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  1. Dave @ Accidental FIRE February 20, 2020 at 5:22 AM

    I’ve definitely never heard of this, but that guy has some mediocre all you can eat shrimp coming his way…

    1. J. Money February 20, 2020 at 7:31 AM

      And I have another great book to promise myself to read one day! ;)

  2. Katie Camel February 20, 2020 at 5:52 AM

    Love this idea! I wish I knew a place that would do the same thing. Awesome find!

    1. J. Money February 20, 2020 at 7:35 AM

      Maybe you can pull this up on your phone and canvas all your favorite stores telling them how easy it’ll be to create super fans if they copy it! :)

  3. Josh February 20, 2020 at 5:53 AM

    This sounds awesome but none of my local businesses offer this (that I know of). Do they offer higher redemption value than the trade-in credit or cash credit for books you to sell to them?

    I’ve sold my unwanted cards on the online resale sites. It’s been a pleasant way to find a little extra pocket change after the holidays.

  4. J. Money February 20, 2020 at 7:39 AM

    They treat gift cards the same as cash so it’s $1.00 per $1.00!

    They’ll buy books off you too but it’s never very much… If you accept store credit over cash back though they double the offer which makes it a bit more exciting :)

  5. Chuck February 20, 2020 at 9:49 AM

    So, they barter? I think a lot of local shops are already open to that, especially owner-operator places. Just have to ask!

    1. J. Money February 20, 2020 at 2:54 PM

      You think they’d take things outside of gift cards? I guess if you’re a web designer or offer other services you can exchange I can see that, but like if you brought in a loaf of fresh bread or something circa 1800’s? :)

  6. Joe February 20, 2020 at 10:21 AM

    That’s really cool. I wonder if they resell the cards online or something like that. It’s a great idea.

    1. J. Money February 20, 2020 at 2:55 PM

      The owner just uses ’em they told me! And will also sometimes give them to their employees as nice gifts, which is cool :)

  7. Rob February 20, 2020 at 1:25 PM

    This is a dangerous practice as someone can turn in a gift card and then use it online since they already have the info. Great concept, but comes with major ripoff risks.

    1. J. Money February 20, 2020 at 2:56 PM

      Ahh you mean the *employee* can steal it? But how would that be much different than accepting cash and doing the same thing?

  8. Jason February 21, 2020 at 2:40 AM

    I assume he means it’s potentially dangerous to the merchant. Potential risks at every level really.

    You could give the physical gift card to the store but still use the numbers yourself. There are apps that even allow for you to enter the numbers in your phone and make an egift card.

    1. J. Money February 21, 2020 at 7:41 AM

      Dang, sneaky!! Couldn’t even fathom doing something like that, but I know there are a-holes out there and mess it up for the rest of us… YOU STAY AWAY FROM MY STORE, A-Holes!

  9. Jeff February 21, 2020 at 11:10 AM

    I am a doctor in a rural area and treat many patients without insurance or they have crappy Obama Care with a high deductible and have difficulty paying their bills. We often barter with them to wipe out their bill. I barter for cleaning services, food out of their gardens, etc. The gift card payment option is one I never considered and will definitely start to use. Thanks for the great idea which will help me to help my patients.

    1. J. Money February 21, 2020 at 2:32 PM

      Ahhhh this is great!!! Thank you for what you do!!

      Will you please keep me updated over time and see how this goes?? Super curious about it and hoping it works out for a lot of them…

      Totally just made my day, man.

  10. Lee February 21, 2020 at 3:54 PM

    This is awesome that your favorite local bookstore will do this. The only thing that I have done that is similar to this is using a restaurant gift card at a different restaurant, but its under the same parent company.

    If your bookstore does a $1 for $1 exchange, then it really is a great way to get rid of those unwanted gift cards you’ll never use!