Getting a gift-card for DC2’s teacher was even harder this year

DC2’s virtual dual language teacher continues to be amazing.  So we thought, why wait for teacher conferences (and will we even have parent teacher conferences this year?), let’s donate to her classroom now.  And since there’s only one teacher instead of two, we’ll just give her the full amount.

I figured we’d just go to giftcardmall (not sponsored) and order two $500 cards as per usual, but alas, they only allow up to $250 now.  There is one company that does still allow $500 cards, but Walmart doesn’t accept purchases over $50 from them and the internet is full of complaints about numbers being stolen and the cards being made useless.

We emailed the principal at the home school for the teacher and confirmed that gift cards are still the best way to donate and that we could donate anonymously through her.  Yes and yes.

After a lot of going back and forth, I decided that the risk wasn’t worth it and paid the extra money to get 4 cards for $250 each instead of 2 cards for $500.  That also meant I had to pay extra for shipping, but shipping was safer.  The cards came a few days later.  I stuck all 4 giftcards into one of the greeting cards they sent, added a note explaining, taped up the greeting card envelope, stuck it in one of those pronged envelopes which I also closed and wrote the teacher’s name c/o the principal’s name on the outside.  Then DH dropped it off at her home base elementary school.

Shipping + fees = $34.75.

I feel really silly for having to do this– four cards seems silly.  Spending $35 to convert money into (riskier) plastic money seems silly.  But… doing it this way does allow the teacher to circumvent having to use approved suppliers or get bids.  And I’m so short on time this semester that I was willing to pay it just to stop having to think about the best solution.

This will probably be the last time we do this since 5th grade is in middle school and there are multiple teachers.  Donations will go back to being in the form of kleenex/paper towels/wipes, assuming there’s a vaccine by then.

10 Responses to “Getting a gift-card for DC2’s teacher was even harder this year”

  1. wally Says:

    At least in NYC, some grocery stores and other in person stores no longer take visa gift cards. Instacart won’t take them either. It’s really frustrating bc it’s not just a great gift it is also what my university gives out as compensation for taking part in research.

  2. xykademiqz Says:

    Maybe I’m missing something, but why don’t you just do electronic gift cards, which are delivered to the teacher via email? All major retailers should offer that as an option. (I sent several “thank you” Amazon gift cards via email over the last few years.)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Because I don’t want her to have to use a specific retailer. This way she can use it for whatever she wants, including online memberships.

      We sent SIL a Target giftcard after the twins were born. They’re fine for when you know where the person shops and what they’re likely to want to buy.

      If the school district didn’t have stupid rules about which suppliers to use and extra paperwork to fill out, we would just write a check to the district and not deal with gift cards at all. That’s what we’ve done at the middle- and high- school levels (generally as directed donations for buying kits/entry fees/etc. for low income students).

  3. Leah Says:

    I didn’t send anywhere near the levels you have, but I did send in some cash last week. Mine was modest — sent money so the teacher could buy a book for each kid from the scholastic order. There are just 13 kids in class. Our district doesn’t seem to have stipulations about gifts to teachers, tho I do think that amount would raise eyebrows. I mostly do my giving to the PTO. They are unrestricted and do buy things for teachers, pay for fieldtrips, etc. They don’t even ask parents here to pay for fieldtrips due to the level of poverty in our district. Recently, the PTO reimbursed the teachers for buying recess equipment; each class is getting their own stuff, and they’ll rotate weekly (when they have time to sanitize), since they’re not allowed to use communal recess supplies.

    Could you do cash in an envelope dropped off at the school office? Or are you concerned about the safety of that too? I just hate paying the fees for those darn cash giftcards.

  4. revanche @ a gai shan life Says:

    I wonder why these cards are so dang expensive! We typically gift retailer specific cards but we usually know where those recipients shop. That’s not going to be the case for elementary school, I imagine.

  5. Omdg Says:

    We started doing amazon gift cards at work because of visa gift card BS.

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