A gift card is a terrible gift. It’s time to stop giving them.

Every year we’re told how many gift card balances go unused. Last year it was $2 billion. If people are leaving $2 billion in gift card balances unspent, they must not like gift cards, right?

But we all keep giving them. And mega-stores love it.

Everyone has a bunch of people on their gift-giving list that they don’t care about or are hard to shop for. So retailers convinced us it’s a good gift, maybe even a preferable gift, to give someone a pre-paid card and let them go get something for themselves. That way, you’re not wasting time picking out a present and saddling them with something they might not want. You’re still giving them a present, but you’re letting them decide what it is!