Almost all of us got a gift card or two for the holidays – whether we wanted them or not. We get them from Bob the office co-worker, Aunt Cecilia, or people that know us just well enough that the feel they need to get us something but not enough to know what we like. Of course everyone would just prefer getting the cash, but yet every year we’re given them. To battle this, we have seen numerous gift card swapping sites pop up where you can trade, buy, or sell gift cards.

Many of us have probably one time or another received a Starbucks gift card. It is a pretty easy gift card to use considering there are over 1,100 Starbucks stores in the U.S. and they plan on opening at least another 1,500 in the next few years, probably across the street from existing ones.

Well this year the company decided to release an exclusive gift card made of….steel. That’s right, a stainless steel gift card that weighs about 8 pennies. The cards are specially etched steel and cost $450. It comes preloaded with $400, which will get you about 82 grande lattes or 57 cups of their new Costa Rica Finca Palmilera – that’s right, do the math - $7.00 for a cup of coffee. That will actually get you about 2 gallons of gas right now.

So as smart (or evil) as the Starbucks executives are, they decided to only release 5,000 of these steel cards. Despite its high price, the steel gift card was a huge success. People wanted these status symbols so much that they sold out within minutes. The only way to purchase them now is through eBay and other on-line markets. The amazing part is not even that people were willing to spend $50 on “packaging.” The amazing part is that people are so desperate for these exclusive cards that they are now selling on eBay for over $1,000!

So should we be blaming Starbucks for this or the people that bought the cards? I guess this is a great example how some people have more money than they do brains. It’s expensive being stupid.
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Nick Haneiko

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