Gift cards still good - Best Buy

Fears that gift cards from Best Buy and Future Shop will expire are unfounded, the companies announced today.

A viral email has been circulating warning consumers their gift cards from the technology retailers will soon expire, and makes false claims that Future Ltd. is closing its outlets. Future Shop Ltd. has said the reality is opposite - the chain is doing well and has over 137 stores currently open.

The story is similar for Best Buy Canada Ltd. Claims that the retail giant is owned by Circuit City, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, is false - Best Buy Canada is owned by Best Buy Co. Inc.

The conveniently-named has a copy of original email that has been making the rounds and dampening everybody's holiday spirit. The email lists a number of American outlets that are going bankrupt that are, in fact, not. However, if you have Circuit City gift cards, the site is urging you to use them quickly. Yikes.

Are gift cards still a good option for the holiday season? There are differing schools of thought. Some have given up and urge consumers to stick to cash, while others are saying they are still an option, and in high demand at that. The National Retail Federation says that 55% of people polled want to receive a gift card at Christmas, though spending on gift-cards is expected to fall.

Maybe a gift card for a sweet pair of noise-canceling, wraparound, alpaca fur-lined stereo headphones isn't exactly a practical request year. What would work? Here are some options for gift cards:

Groceries - Most major chains offer gift cards to customers now, like Sobeys and Zhers.
Gas - It's low now, but it's not going to stay that way forever.
Games - Forbes has reported that the Nintendo Wii juggernaut might be a recession-proof gift, so it seems safe to assume that a video game gift card won't go unspent. It has the added bonus of making you, like, the coolest uncle ever.

Movies - Hollywood has traditionally touted itself as a recession-proof industry, with movie sales remaining stable through tough times as people look for cheap fun. Some are questioning the truth of that claim this year, but there is one area where sales are dropping: those buttery, over-priced bags of popcorn. Maybe a theater gift card that can be spent on snacks will be kindly looked upon.
(Photo: Story about gift cards (used ones with no actual value) that are becoming collectors’ items - a set of 17 Starbucks cards from Taiwan recently sold for $350, and even Canadian cards that are considered limited edition can fetch $100. Wayne Cuddington, Ottawa Citizen/CanWest News Service.)