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#MicroblogMondays 137: Picking Prizes

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The ChickieNob beat me in cards, and I told her that she could pick the prize.  She narrowed it down to a Buffy soundtrack or a Buffy episode, but that was as far as she got.

We talked about it a lot, and I pointed out that it was a pretty low stakes decision.  She could (1) play me in cards again and probably beat me a second time (if not on the first try then some point in the future) and (2) she had the money to buy herself the soundtrack AND the episodes.  But she still couldn’t make up her mind.  It was like knowing she had a prize was even better than choosing the prize.

The Wolvog is the same way.  It is so hard for him to choose what he wants to do when we go hang out somewhere, even when I promise him that it’s a low stakes decision: we can go out again the next week and do something different.

As someone who held onto a massage gift certificate for years because knowing I had it was better than using it, I get it.  The apples didn’t fall far from this neurotic tree.

Do you like to choose prizes (or use gifts) quickly or hold onto them indefinitely?


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1 Beth { 04.10.17 at 6:39 am }

I pick immediately but then sometimes wish I’d chosen differently. But we also don’t tend to do prizes for day to day stuff so i also have fewer opportunities.

2 a { 04.10.17 at 7:54 am }

My girl is a ditherer. She spent hours poring over Amazon.com trying to spend her birthday gift card. We were in the bookstore forever, for the same reason. I am much more decisive. I try to encourage her to worry less about choosing because life goes on regardless. Why waste time worrying about these small things? You can learn a lesson and move on.

3 Turia { 04.10.17 at 7:55 am }

I am bad at this too, and there are signs that E will be exactly the same way. He can get paralyzed between two breakfast options even knowing he can choose the second one the next day or as a second round of breakfast!

4 Middle Girl { 04.10.17 at 8:06 am }

I have two AMC gift cards that were gifted to me I don’t even know how long ago. There are been other times. It depends on the gift or prize.

5 Middle Girl { 04.10.17 at 8:15 am }

I can choose pretty quickly but may not use quickly.

6 torthuil { 04.10.17 at 8:18 am }

Haha! I think I’m a delayer, based on the evidence. I received concert vouchers last Christmas and even though I knew exactly what I wanted to see, I took two months to book it. Even worse, my brother gave me a Visa card something like three years ago and only lately did I get around to spending it (it expires in July so…..) In my case it’s the extra effort required to make a decision and act on it that leads to procrastinating. Sounds ridiculous when the result will be something fun, but since it’s not necessary or urgent I put it off. The moral of the story: I would rather the giver choose for me, I guess! Or ask me then give me what I want.

7 Lori Shandle-Fox { 04.10.17 at 8:47 am }

I think most of us hold onto them forever. That’s why companies love when you buy gift cards. They all get bought and so many of them never get redeemed. I’m always waiting for the perfect thing I want or situation to use it. The gift ends up being stressful. I’m much better off if I don’t think so hard and just use the damn thing on a whim.

8 katherinea12 { 04.10.17 at 9:02 am }

I used to be a lot worse about holding on to gift cards. Now I know that if I don’t use them fairly quickly, I lose them, so I tend to use them within about a month or two of getting them because the idea of losing them worries me. That being said, I also feel vaguely guilty when I spend them immediately, like I’m not doing well at delaying gratification and should wait to spend them for a “special” occasion. I’ve learned from experience, though, that it’s better to go ahead and use them in my case (I did, however, once find a whole bunch of cards I’d misplaced when I was cleaning out a year or two ago and had a really lovely day spending all of them – new books, fancy coffee, and a meal out!).

9 Traci York { 04.10.17 at 9:22 am }

I’m exactly the same, and I’ve passed it along to our son. The girls and hubby, however, have no problem using gift cards/picking prizes in relative short order. Funny how that works – I know I need to get better about it though, because I’ve actually lost out when a few cards eventually expired…

10 Risa Kerslake { 04.10.17 at 9:28 am }

I think it depends on what it is and how much I want it. A massage coupon? Yes, I would use it right away! A gift card to a store I don’t visit often? Could sit in my wallet for ages. 🙂

11 Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) { 04.10.17 at 9:28 am }

I hold onto gift cards for a long time, too. I can also relate to overthinking small decisions, wanting to get it “right,” so I love how you remind them that these are low stakes, and they’re not gonna mess it up.

12 Shail { 04.10.17 at 9:57 am }

I am the kind to make a quick choice. Besides, if I held on too long I would in all probability forget all about it, lol. Yes, it has happened too.

13 Jess { 04.10.17 at 10:12 am }

I feel the Wolvog. I hate making choices. I get mad at Bryce for not picking a dinner destination, but really it’s because then I have to choose. I love what you said though, that you can pick differently next time, that it truly is low stakes. I should think of it that way more often! I like using the prizes. Nothing fills me with as much bewilderment as a drawer full of gift cards, which is what Bryce does. I think he isn’t thinking of having the prize versus redeeming it though…I honestly think he forgets. I am now the gift card manager. 🙂

14 Melissa N. { 04.10.17 at 10:58 am }

I think I tend to hold on to gifts because I hate the idea it being gone once it’s used. Which I realize is the intention of the gift – to be used – but it’s hard for me. If it’s a candle, I hate to burn it because it looks so perfect and smells so good and once its wax is gone and wick spent, I’ll have to toss it away and there it goes. But gift cards I tend to use pretty quickly for whatever reason, especially if it’s for a restaurant. Because who doesn’t like to eat out and then NOT have to pay for it? But gifts in the form of actual things – those are hard for me to let go of because then, just like with a birthday, once it’s over, it’s over and then you have to wait for another to come around.

15 Cyn K { 04.10.17 at 1:07 pm }

I think since we unconsciously make decisions all the time, when we realize we have a choice, it can be overwhelming. I can’t count the number of times I’ve responded, “I don’t know. What do YOU want to do?” I guess I think to shirk my responsibilities and make it someone else’s fault if things go poorly. Even when it doesn’t really matter.

16 Vaibhav { 04.10.17 at 1:18 pm }

I’ll usually pick my prize fairly quickly, be really happy, and then discard it after a while of using/enjoying it. As for gifts, I do my best to be polite.

I enjoy GIVING gifts more, because I enjoy the personal touch of a handmade basket.

17 nonsequiturchica { 04.10.17 at 3:06 pm }

I try to use them quickly before I lose the gift card!

18 Lavonne @ *the OCD infertile* { 04.10.17 at 3:31 pm }

I pick immediately because I’m an instant gratification kind of person, but I almost always regret my decision and wish I would have picked something else. This also applies to almost everything I purchase with my own money.

19 Mali { 04.10.17 at 7:53 pm }

This makes me laugh. Yes, at times I hate making decisions, and worry that I’m missing out by not making the right decision. But really, what I am learning to tell myself, is that I’m missing out if I dither around so much that I don’t make a decision at all.

I’m really sad for you that you haven’t had that massage yet. A guilt-free (ie not feeling guilty about spending the money) massage is one of life’s many delights!

20 Chandra Lynn { 04.10.17 at 9:18 pm }

For me, it depends on the gift card. Target? Walmart? Gone immediately. But I finally used a gift card to Olive Garden a friend gave me many moons ago. I still have unused movie theatre gift cards and I’m “savoring” Michaels gift cards given to me for Christmas.

21 Chris { 04.11.17 at 12:00 am }

Oh my! I’m like you and Wolvog and Chickienob! I’ll agonize over decisions. It is actually an ongoing thing at our house that my husband better ask me an hour or two before he wants to eat what I want to eat because a quick decision is not usually my forte. And, if it’s something more important than a meal (because mostly I don’t care about food) well forget it! I do however carry all gift cards around with me so I’ll have them just in case I’m inspired. Because I may not be decisive but I AM prepared. 😀

22 Lori Lavender Luz { 04.11.17 at 10:24 am }

Like you, I’m more of a Haver than a User. That’s weird, I know.

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