Gift cards

The gift that keeps on giving!

It is Chinese New Year over the other side of the pond, according to oriental believes, Year of the Dragon is a good year for a lot of things, like getting married, having babies, anything happening in this year will be positive, because of the Dragon, we – the Chinese – are the decedents of the Dragon – so the folklore has it.

One thing though, through time eternal, has never changed; societies everywhere operate better and more smoothly through personal contacts and relationships.

This phenomenon is all the truer and more acute in times like New Year holidays in China.

My contacts in China mentioned an interesting new phenomenon in China, mind you this is not an exclusive Chinese anything, it is just we Chinese, treasured “connections” and view “smoothing out the kinks” in festivity times more seriously.

In old days, we called them “red packets”, nowadays “red packets” there have been replaced with “gift cards”, just like way back when, when gifts of food or anything tangible were replaced by “red packets.”

Gift cards are easily carried and transferrable, I was told there are virtually no monetary limit one can purchased a gift card from any available vendor, it can be the value of a new vehicle from a dealership, if I treasure my future working relationship with a certain person seriously.

It could be for two thousand dollars worth of seafood from a famous seafood supplier. You don’t even need to hand over a conspicuous looking red packet anymore when you pay your respects to your contacts. Just a discreet little gift certificate or gift card, to be used at a later day. How convenient!

Reading local papers around Christmas and New Year holidays, there were reports saying that a lot of the gift giving in North America involved giving gift cards, and a lot of the gift cards given as gifts were never put to use, and over a period of time, charges or deduction were made in terms of servicing fees.

I have never been given a gift card as a gift in China, yet! It would be interesting to find out what the annual amount of gift card giving amounts to in the world’s most populous nation, and how do they handle their gift card phenomenon?

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