With Christmas and New Year round the corner, Tania Spencer is hoping that this time she gets better gifts than she did last year. Last Christmas, she landed up with three coffee mugs (all similar), besides two hand bags that failed to match her tastes.
And though she could not blame her friends and relatives for this, she could only quietly wish that they rather left the choice (of gifts) to her. But isn't it wishful thinking? She asked herself.
Well, maybe not. For today, there are a plethora of options available for presentation through gift vouchers, which the recipient may be allowed to make his/her choice from.
Retail majors, for instance, Shoppers' Stop, Pantaloon and Central Mall, offer gift vouchers in various denominations. The Shoppers' Stop gift vouchers are available in denominations of Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 250, Rs 500, Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,000.
Valid for one year from the date of issue, these vouchers are redeemable at all outlets of Shoppers' Stop across the country. So, if you purchase a Rs 500 gift voucher from Hyderabad and gift it to someone in Chennai, the recipient can make use of it at the corresponding outlet in that city.
Similarly, the Central Mall gift vouchers come in denominations of Rs 101, Rs 251, Rs 501 and Rs 1,001. The recipient of these vouchers can buy junk jewellery for Rs 101; wallets, deodorants or soft toys for Rs 251; T-shirts, shirts, tops or bags for Rs 501; and footwear and clothes for Rs 1,001.
These vouchers can also be redeemed for buying grocery at Food Bazaar. Central has presence in Hyderabad and Bangalore. Pantaloon also offers vouchers in similar denominations, valid for a period of one year. However, none of these vouchers can be redeemed for cash.
These gift vouchers empower the recipient to choose from a variety of products. However, one can also buy vouchers for specific gifts. For example, if beautycare is what catches the recipient's fancy, it will help him/her to know that French cosmetics and skincare major Clarins offers gift vouchers in denominations of Rs 2,400 (for women) and Rs 1,800 (for men).
Valid only for a period of one month, these vouchers allow the user to get facial treatments done at the company's Beauty Studio in Hyderabad, Mumbai or Bangalore.
Again, on a very different platform altogether, if someone is looking at footwear to make a gift, there are options awaiting him/her at The Loft's outlets. The footwear store, with presence in Hyderabad and Mumbai, has gift vouchers for Rs 100, Rs 500, Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,000. And these vouchers are valid for a period of six months.
However, if you do not want to buy a gift voucher that keeps the recipient bound to specific stores, you may go in for IDBI Bank's GiftCard option, available in denominations starting from Rs 1,000 to Rs 20,000.
These cards allow the recipient to purchase goods and services at over 180,000 merchant establishments in India that accept Visa cards. Thus, this product offering offers the user the freedom to shop to his/her content from various locations across India, till the value on the card is exhausted.
The best feature of this card is that to purchase or use this card one need not be an IDBI Bank's account-holder. It is sold over the counter at any IDBI Bank branch, for a validity period of two years from the date of issue.
The person using this card can also, at anytime, check the balance remaining on the card from any IDBI ATM counter. If the user desires he/she can obtain a mini statement, too, for details of the last 10 transactions on the card. Also, if the card gets lost it can be deactivated to protect against misuse.
In addition to all the aforesaid options, there are a number of city-specific outlets dealing in home appliances, garments, books and other consumer products that offer gift vouchers. For instance, Walden in Hyderabad, which deals in books and stationery, offers gift vouchers in several denominations starting at Rs 100.Well, hope Tania Spencer's friends and relatives are reading this!