Duke: so wise at such a young age

When Duke was little, he made us very special Christmas presents every year. He would cut cardboard into animal shapes and give them to us an ornaments. Without a doubt, his best work was the elephant. I'd go so far as to call it his masterpiece.

Well, they say that a true artist is never fully appreciated in his time. And while my family undoubtedly appreciated Duke's presents, possibly even calling them our favorite gifts of the season, his ornaments are not yet being sold at Hallmark.

This year, though, it might be time to get back to Duke's Cardboard Creations (I coined them a name). After receiving an email that listed a number of stores that would be closing, yet still offering gift cards, I became a little disheartened. These stores (such as Circuit City, Sharper Imagine, Wilson's Leather...) will sell gift cards and will not tell shoppers the stores are closing. Therefore, poor unaware consumers will have useless gift cards that the stores will not honor in anyway...

At Christmas, they're doing this? The time of year when we're all supposed to spread love, joy, and merriment, regardless of the situation? They're scamming shoppers?

It just doesn't seem right.

But, a woman from the FTC came to talk in one of my classes today and apparently, doing this is not only legal, but considered to be a good business practice. It's just their way of riding out the recession. They're making a few extra dollars before they really go under. I mean, they're losing all their money, why shouldn't you?

I certainly don't support it, but I guess I can't really tell Circuit City what to do.

So, in order to steer clear of becoming a victim of chapter nine, a few steps can be taken.

1. Give gifts, not gift cards. Besides, it's more thoughtful.
2. Make your gifts. Not only is it thoughtful, but it can create a bonding experience among the makers.
3. Go green. Give money.