Loop & Tie is an online gift giving service that lets you send a collection of gifts and lets the recipient choose their favorite item based on their own tastes. I felt that I had to write about this service because gift giving for non-geeks has been one of my weakest skills and I know I’m not alone. I honestly have no idea why other people don’t want a copy of the Pandemic board game, the latest expansion for Cards Against Humanity, or a new set of fine detail brushes for painting up their role-playing miniatures. What’s that? You never watched that Firefly DVD box set I bought you last year? Well that’s just plain heresy in this here ‘verse (it’s a good thing you’re family or I’d have to go all Jane Cobb on you and yours). This is why I’ve resorted to giving gift cards or heavily relying on my wife to help pick out seemingly neutral and possibly useful gifts within our budget over the years.
Gift cards make bad gifts:
Let’s be very clear about this because I’m only going to say it once. We all know gift cards are a half-hearted gift to give somebody since they typically go unused and forgotten. The other problem with gift cards is most things you would want to buy don’t come in at a price point equal to the gift card balance. According to the National Retail Federation 61% of gift card holders purchased items worth more than the value of their gift card. The average consumer overspent by an average of 60% the face value of the gift card received. 55% of gift card holders will require more than a single trip to use up the balance and many never use up the entire balance.
There are exceptions to giving gift cards and you and I both know most of them, right? There are birthdays or holidays in which we are trying to save up for something that costs more than your typical gift and we request gift cards for specific stores. We also have certain stores that we have no problems spending money at and welcome the store credit. My personal gift card exception list consists of the following places; Best Buy, Coffee Shops, Game Stop, my local game shop, and the Lego Store. To be honest though, friends and family get me gift cards to these stores because they know me well enough to realize how much I’d appreciate the excuse to buy things from my favorite stores. It’s when gift cards are the after-thought or the gift-giving scapegoat that they risk being a lame duck gift.
A better gift-giving option when hand-selected gifts are off the menu:
What if we could give a gift with the speed and convenience of a gift card? A gift that didn’t require the recipient to manage a gift value, account balance, or overpay to get something they’d like? I’m writing this post because a service like Loop & Tie has identified a great compromise for gift-givers that struggle with picking out specific gifts for friends, relatives, or (gasp) clients.
I was able to interview Sara Rodell, the owner and creator of Loop & Tie, the service that takes the guesswork out of gift giving for people in your life. Sara started this service after she worked for a big firm and was in charge of ordering gifts for clients and it turned out to be a total nightmare. How do you buy gifts for people that you don’t know or don’t know well enough, let alone have a chance at giving a gift they can appreciate? You don’t want to send wine to the client who could turn out to be pregnant or a recovering alcoholic. You can’t safely buy candy or cookies for that distant in-law with so many peanut, gluten, and dairy allergies. Buying good gifts takes time and some inside knowledge of the person you are giving a gift to; both are luxuries we typically don’t have which is why we reach for the Starbucks gift card. Everybody loves coffee, right? Right!?
How Loop & Tie works:
You select a gift from one of four different price collections. Select $25, $50, $75, or $100 and it only requires an email address for the recipient. When the recipient receives their gift via email, they never know the exact price the giver spent, they simply have the fun of choosing their favorite item from the collection. The decision between fancy food, home decorations, or stylish accessory is now on them. I would personally get the specialty beef jerky or the bottles of cold-press coffee concentrate for ice coffee if I were a gift recipient. Some people might actually opt for the optional charity donation offered within each price tier instead of receiving a gift (finally, the gift for somebody that literally has everything they want).
Just In time for last minute holiday gifts:
Still need to get a holiday gift for an in-law you just don’t know or have the time to shop for? Check out Loop & Tie and let me know how it goes.
Special Offer for GeekDad Readers: The folks at Loop & Tie have graciously offered a 20% off discount for our readers through December 31st when you use promo code GEEKDAD (case-sensitive).