Friday, February 15, 2008

The Perfect Gift

I got the perfect gift for Christmas: a Borders gift card. I do most of my reading at the library, because until we get some debt paid off I feel bad spending money on books. I don't even spend much time at bookstores, because it's frustrating. Even if I find something I really want to buy, I have trouble rationalizing the expense, and I feel like I'm using money unwisely. But if I've got a gift card waiting in my wallet, I'm free to go to the bookstore without guilt. I've got "money" that can only be spent on books, so the zero-sum economics of normal purchasing (that is, any money I spend is money that can't go to pay bills) don't apply. Even if I don't buy anything, it makes window shopping fun, because I know I could buy something if I wanted to; not buying something is a choice I'm making, not a circumstance forced on me by my debt load. Even though I'm aware of the psychology behind it, having a gift card is very liberating.

Another nice aspect to a bookstore gift card: you can spend it on books you could never rationalize spending actual money on. Conan books! Graphic novels! That non-fiction book on winter bicycling! Things you couldn't ever buy with a clear conscience are completely fair game when you're not spending real money on them. So I've been having fun for the last few weeks, wandering over to Borders a few times a week and talking to the books. I keep finding books I want, but I haven't bought any yet. It's nice, just picking them up and reading a few pages and petting them, knowing that if I wanted I could take them with me and give them a good home.

So -- Borders gift card. Good gift idea.

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