Yes, It’s Returnable

Close to three years ago now, I got a phone call from a sweet lady in Montana...or maybe Idaho...or possibly Wyoming. Well, I got a call from a sweet lady who lived very far away from me. She wanted to purchase a gift certificate.
She explained that she had a friend who lived here in Visalia who had recently been diagnosed with some pretty devastating medical issues, so she (the lady in Montana/Idaho/Wyoming) wanted to do something nice for her friend by getting her a gift certificate.
She sounded like she was an older woman, probably a little older than my mom, and she didn’t “do all that Internet stuff” so she wanted to know if she could mail me a check and have me mail her a gift certificate.
I said “sure.”
I got a little off kilter and confused — not sure if I was supposed to mail this gift certificate to the lady in Montanahoming or if someone was supposed to come by and pick up the gift certificate. But I got the lady’s check, I made out the gift certificate and packaged it up all fancy like I do, and eventually it made its way to the hands of its proper owner.
I knew it would be a while before it was redeemed, as its recipient would be spending a few months tending to her medical issues, so it wasn’t until April or May of 2012 that I heard from her.
Naturally, she wanted to redeem the certificate for a pedicure. Except, at that exact moment in time, the construction crew had just been to my salon to knock a gaping, dusty hole through my wall for the very purpose of beginning the expansion process to include pedicures on my service menu. So I politely explained this to the Lady of the Gift Certificate. She seemed to understand and said she would contact me later.
The next time I heard from her (Actually it was her daughter-in-law — or “future” daughter-in-law, according to the woman on the phone.), she wanted to book double pedicures for both herself and the Lady of the Gift Certificate that Saturday.
Except, the pedicure project was still little more than a dusty hole in the wall — and I don’t work on Saturdays.
After that phone call, I kicked myself for not getting a contact number for either of these women. At that point, I thought it in everyone’s best interest for me to simply buy back the certificate. That way they could use the money to go get pedicures wherever either of them usually get pedicures and I wouldn’t have an outstanding gift certificate in the hands of a woman who didn’t really want to become my client.
But all I could do was wait until she called me again...
Naturally, the next time she called was right after I broke my wrist. And I still didn’t get her contact information.
I have a new voicemail from her now. Finally, I can call her back and offer to buy her gift certificate back. As sweet as the gesture was, I don’t think I’ll be agreeing to another transaction of this sort. I really prefer gift certificates to go to my existing clients or for people they know want to come to me. I’ve never been a fan of gift certificates that make people feel coerced into coming to me.

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