Looking a Gift Card Horse in the Mouth

When it comes to receiving gifts, I have a major preference to gift cards over anything else. I know part of the fun of gift giving is the thought involved, but more often than not in my experience, the thoughtful gifts backfire. For example, I think it’s great that you know that I love Hello Kitty and own a Hello Kitty toaster.

But just because I own that Hello Kitty toaster doesn’t mean that I want you to waste your money and buy me a Hello Kitty king sheet set with matching curtains that I’ll never use. I’m 35. There’s only so many gifts for a 12-year old that I’ll enjoy.

I love gift cards because you can use them when you need them most. You may think it’s lame getting me an Amazon gift card, but to me that’s the best of the best. With that said, one of the worst gifts you can receive is the gift card to the place you never go. That brings me to today’s lunch. For almost 3 years, I have had a Macaroni Grill gift card in my wallet. Hubs and I were headed to lunch, didn’t know what we wanted to eat, and happened to pass by one. I don’t like Macaroni Grill, but I do like saving money.

And I quote the hubs: “You wanna get Macaroni Grill over with?”

Macaroni Grill it is.

We both ordered from the menu of items with 575 calories or less. While we waited, the server brought out the bread for the table. We usually don’t eat bread, but we were so hungry we decided to try it.

Saltiest bread ever. It was good, but a few of the bites actually tasted like licking pure salt. Unless there’s a tequila center, no one needs that much salt.

The restaurant was all but empty but the food took a long time to come out. At one point, the waiter apologized that the food was taking so long and told us that the manager was cooking and she’s slower because she “doesn’t normally cook.”

You know what I love?      Food from people that don’t normally cook.

While we waited, I got bored.

And hungrier.

And hungrier.

The food finally came out. I ordered the Grilled Chicken Spiedini. (Hubs got the Jumbo Shrimp Spiedini)

Besides not tasting that great, it was disgusting how much oil our meals were drenched in. There is no way this thing was 360 calories and 1 gram of fat like the menu says.

We each took about 5 bites and decided it just wasn’t worth it. The chef came out and asked how our meals were and we told her that we weren’t happy. She offered to make us something else, but we really didn’t want to stay. We asked for our check and decided to go somewhere else.

When we tried to pay our check, the waiter looked confused. We didn’t realize they comped both our meals. While I appreciate the customer service, I just can’t get rid of that stupid gift card…

After we left, we ran a few errands and ended up at Gators Dockside (which never disappoints). We started with the Gator Tail – a fave of the hubs.

And we both got the same salad as last time – the Ham and Cheddar Harvest Crisp.

Look! We’re happy now!

I even made out with the delicious apple vinaigrette dressing right in front of hubs and he didn’t get jealous.

I don’t know how to write this post without sounding like a cold-hearted snake (“look into his eyes!”). And I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. Anytime someone gives me something, I appreciate that person and their kindness SO much. BUT, I would rather you spend your hard-earned money on something you need rather than something I will never use.

Do you get gifts you never use?

What’s the worst gift you’ve received? Do you tell the person you don’t like it? (I never did before. But once I met my husband, that changed. His family is really big on buying something they know you’ll want. So even if you asked for something specifically, they always include a gift receipt just in case.)

22 Comments

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22 Responses to Looking a Gift Card Horse in the Mouth

  1. I love this post and I feel the same way. I’d much rather a gift card unless you know me so well that you KNOW I will LOVE whatever it is. Other than that, I’d prefer to buy it myself. With your money. Just sayin’. 😉

  2. Michelle

    Girlfriend (yes, I just called you that)… It’s called regifting!! Plus – you don’t just have to use it at Macaroni Grill. Isn’t Outback part of that group? If anything use it for happy hour!!

    • No, it’s JUST for Macaroni Grill. It’s not like a Darden Restaurant thing. I would use it for HH, if I ever wanted to go to Macaroni Grill but I just don’t like it there. I think I might sell it on one of those gift card sites. But not sure how trustworthy they are. Oh, and I would totally regift if the card didn’t look like it had been through a wood chipper. hee

  3. I do understand what you mean (I’d go on, but lol, I don’t know who reads your blog).

    You know you probably could trade with someone that has a gift card they won’t use…that you might? Or, just give it to someone you know loves that place for their birthday/Christmas etc…since it’s not for you. 🙂 Hope that helps.

  4. Through the woodchipper! LOL! Telling you…swap…there’s bound to be someone that you now that likes that place and has a gift card they haven’t got around to use more up your alley???

  5. And I’ll say….PLEASE NO ONE GET ME A BATH & BODY WORKS GIFT CARD! I DO NOT NEED ANYMORE! 🙂 There, see, not alone.

  6. Alecia

    On birthday a long time ago, my husband and I were driving the 3 hours to my grandmas house for a get together. We stopped at a gas station to fill up and he walked back out with one of those toy “collectible” ghetto fabulous escalade cars. He handed it to me and said happy birthday. Really?! We both knew damn well which one of us really wanted that POS, and wasn’t me!

  7. So glad I’m not the only one who gets crappy gift cards! My future mother-in-law gets me GC’s to places that she KNOWS I don’t shop at. On. Purpose. And Becky – I’m with you on the B&B gift cards.

  8. Lindsay

    The next time you get a Macaroni Grill gift card, send it my way hahaha

  9. You should be able to use it at Chili’s, On The Border or Maggiano’s too…they’re part of the same group as Macaroni Grill. I feel ya on it…MG isn’t my favorite either. (And I found your blog from Running off the Reese’s. Yay!)

  10. Ha, tequila center would be awesome! I always expect Macaroni Grill to be 8 millionty times better than it ever is. It’s always so gross!

  11. David

    We must get luckier with the Macaroni Grill by us – haven’t had very many bad meals there. (BTW, Love your drawings!)

  12. Really? You don’t need Hello Kitty sheets? And curtains?? And a sofa???

    Yeah, I would much rather have a gift card, too. My family thinks it’s too impersonal, but they seem to be coming around. I always just say I want something from Victoria’s Secret which makes them super uncomfortable, so gift cards are the only choice. Suckas! But that’s what I really want, so it works in my favor. 🙂

  13. Danielle

    So they comped it, and you still have the gift card? haha. Options.
    I LOVE gift cards, but when I get one I wont use, I regift! : )

  14. stefanie@runon

    I can’t believe you just quoted old school Paula. I laughed outloud! My mom is the queen of awkward gift. For Easter she gave me this weird white jacket. It’s just oddly made and weird fitting. So it just sits in my closet because I don’t have the heart to get rid of it. And also in fear that she’ll ask me about it! I always tell her just to get me a gift card but she thinks its impersonal. Lame.

  15. This is such a hilarious story! You really can’t get rid of that thing, can you? I’d just go there and drink their blackberry tea all day long.

  16. GIft card are much more practical…especially since we travel for holidays. NO way I can fly back with all that stuffl. Lucky for me I’m allergic to gluten so I don’t get food gift cards any more. 🙂

  17. Just had to let you know, my boyfriend has the same hello kitty toaster. He swears it’s for his daughter, but both he and I know better…

  18. “Unless there’s a tequila center, no one needs that much salt.”

    Well said my friend, well said.

    I LOVE giftcards, but 90% of the time I get them to places I never go. I hate that!

    I think there is a website where you can sell your giftcards. You lose a little bit of the value of the card, but if you’re never gonna wanna go to macaroni grill, it’d be worth it! 🙂

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