Update on the gift card donation thing

So we asked you all for suggestions on how to get a cash-value gift card to DC2’s teachers.

Becca noted:

To actually address your preferred option-it looks like Gift Card Mall will sell you a $500 Visa card for a fee of $5.95, probably with a $2 shipping fee. It just looks like getting large denomination gift cards is getting more challenging- maybe it’s fraud related.

We had originally tried an AmEx card because I had found a code for free shipping, bringing the cost down to ~$8.  But they emailed and said it would take 1-3 days to approve and send.  When I called on day 4, they said, no, it was 1-3 business days and it would be shipped out “tomorrow”.  When I called on business day 3, they said that was a lie, it was actually 2-4 business days and it would be shipped “tomorrow”.  When I called on business day 4, they said no, day 1 didn’t count because we’d ordered after 11am, and it would be shipped “tomorrow” at which point I cancelled and said screw it, I’ll pay the additional $4 and go with Visa.  It didn’t help that when I googled AmEx gift cards there were lots and lots of complaints about people’s card-money suddenly disappearing and customer service being no help in retrieving it.

Gift card mall turned out to be extremely easy to deal with.  They gave a date that our cards would be shipped and they were indeed shipped on that day (no shipping fee) and came well within the 5-10 days they said it would take with shipping.  The other neat thing was that we were able to customize the cards by picking out teacher related card pictures, putting the teacher’s actual names on the cards, and getting greeting cards, envelopes, and a message typed out in the greeting card.  Almost worth the $11.90 we paid over the cost of the cards themselves.  Definitely less hassle than “tomorrow never comes” AmEx.

So DH dropped the cards off with DC2’s teachers’ principal.  The next day, DC2 excitedly told DH that someone had given hir teachers each a $500 giftcard for the class and they’d asked the kids what to do with them.  50 guinea pigs!  A swimming bag pool (we’re not entirely sure what that is)!

Hopefully they’ll use it for differentiation/enrichment/independent learning, though I suppose 50 guinea pigs could count as enrichment.   We will probably never know what they get spent on in the end, but we did feel a bit of a warm fuzzy knowing that the teachers had gotten them.

What would you spend a $500 giftcard on?

18 Responses to “Update on the gift card donation thing”

  1. Lynda Says:

    I have a friend who adopted 2 male guinea pigs and er… got 3 free as one of the piggies was female. So maybe they wouldn’t need to buy 500?

  2. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    BTW, guys, there’s a lot of important political stuff going on right now. If you can early vote, do it! There are a lot of important elections and propositions locally, so read up about what’s going on in your area and participate!

    In addition, Indivisible’s main action this week is calling your members of congress about the Tax giveaway to the wealthiest of the wealthy. Here’s 5 calls on that: https://5calls.org/issue/demand-fair-tax-reform

    They still haven’t renewed CHIP, children’s health insurance. This is mind-boggling to me: https://5calls.org/issue/renew-funding-chip-healthcare

    Here’s the script if you want to oppose a Mueller firing: https://5calls.org/issue/oppose-mueller-firing (Indivisible recommends waiting until the firing actually happens and then acting in a coordinated manner.)

    You don’t have to call on everything, but media reports and super depressing pundit twitter threads are suggesting that the people who control Fox News are winning because everyone else is getting complacent while people who actually vote and call because Fox News tells them to because they believe a bunch of new Hillary Clinton conspiracy theories. That we’re set to have a second Trump term after the rule of law is set aside and gerrymandering is increased. If you call about something that helps the forces of good, then they’ll know we’re not complacent.

    • Debbie M Says:

      Thanks for the ideas. I called all three offices on all three of those issues. The results were better than I expected for two of the people. On tax reform, of course they were all for the crappy Republican budget and my Rep is especially for cutting the business tax rate to 20% but also getting rid of the loopholes. On CHIP, one Senator is pro CHIP and has voted for it in the past; the others have no prepared statement. On Mueller, none have a statement about speaking out against Trump firing him and one has no statement about the investigation either, but my Rep and one Senator support the investigation.

      Having no statement sounds better than a having a pro statement and one of my horrible Senators is not being maximally horrible on every issue this time.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Yay not maximally horrible! Thanks for calling! I keep getting answering machines.

      • Debbie M Says:

        Bummer about the answering machines. Maybe? Is it good that they are getting so many calls? I don’t mind answering machines, but I’m learning to ask if the person answering knows my rep’s opinion about whatever issue I’m calling about. Sadly, the answer is usually that they don’t know or that no statement had been issued. (I don’t know whether to be annoyed that they think the issue is of too little import to issue a statement or to be happy that maybe they are still open to influence on the issue.) Today one gal implied they were still mostly ready for ACA calls, not the ones I made.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I think it’s just when I’m free to call.

      • Debbie M Says:

        Ah, that makes sense. I try to call during business hours.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I do call during business hours, but generally either the start of the day or lunchtime

  3. Leah Says:


    What would I spend $500 on? For my classroom, models from 3D Molecular Designs — they’re bio modeling stuff and perfect for kinesthetic learning. I find they help me differentiate. Tho, honestly, to truly differentiate I need time to just sit and think about different ways to teach.

    On myself? A new winter coat (mine is on the small side after baby #2, darnit) and some new work tops.

  4. Linda Says:

    I think I’d spend on a flight back to Chicago to visit family and close friends. I haven’t been back in over a year, and finances are part of the reason why.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Spirit airlines was running a special this weekend. We were about to book our summer airline tickets with United when I noticed the Spirit flight was even cheaper than usual— so much so that even buying their “make this flight not suck” package put it a couple hundred under the regular fare for United. Some of the other airlines have done similar things for random flights, often coming out of SFO (like $87 r/t kind of reduced, though never at the times I need for the conferences I’m going to!), so it might be worthwhile settling up a fare alert in google flights to catch one of these drastically reduced flights.

  5. chacha1 Says:

    ROFL @ “50 guinea pigs”

  6. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Dc1 has been bringing brand new books home for homework (previous books were not shiny and new) and we’ve been getting links to learning software subscriptions… so… maybe?

  7. First paycheck of the year and boy have we been giving a lot of money away | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] talked to DC2’s first grade teachers and thought we should give them visa gift cards like we gave the kindergarten teachers last […]

  8. So… how to donate to DC2’s classrooms this year? | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] Kindergarten and First Grade, we donated $1K anonymously to DC2’s classroom teachers for […]

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