Use your Borders gift card NOW
There are no guarantees how long it will be good, and every moment you wait, the pickings get slimmer.
I told you back in January and now I really mean it: If you have a Borders gift card you've been meaning to redeem, do it now.
Now. Let the dog walk himself. Skip the weekly lunch bunch. Tell your boss you have to leave early because you have to meet the sprinkler guy. Whatever. But go as soon as you can, either directly to the store, or online, and cash out that card.
Borders, the long-troubled bookstore, announced Monday it was ending its effort to sell off its assets and would begin liquidation under Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, with stores closing as early as Friday. The liquidation process will run through September. Post continues after video.
For now, the company's websites still cheerily promise that its business operations continue as normal, but that's only because it hasn't updated the pages since it began to seek a buyer for itself. Borders' gift cards terms and conditions page online, for instance, hasn't been updated since October.
So get in gear if you have a Borders gift card. There are no guarantees how long it will be good, and every moment you wait, the pickings get slimmer. History says there's a chance another store may honor them in an effort to win the loyalty of former Borders buyers, but don't count on it.
We wrote a story in late 2008, as the recession was really deepening, about how to get the most from bankrupt retailers' gift cards, and the advice still holds. The most important advice: Act fast. There's likely to be a run on the Borders merchandise.
More on CreditCards.com and MSN Money:
I spent $20 to upgrade my Borders Reward Card last winter, and it's proven a sound investment - purchasing an average of $30 worth of books/ mags/ CDs per month, I accrued $5 - $8 in "Borders Bucks" every 6 wks or so, and saved 30-40% on new titles.
So, why buy printed/recorded media @ a brick & mortar store, instead of just on-line?
'Cause those "cheap books" (& discs) for sale on the 'Net also cost you shipping & handling fees, and in most cases, they will increase your bottom-line by 40 - 60%, whether it's Amazon, or eBay, or Alibris, or Barnes & Noble . . . not to mention the dubious 'pleasure' of waiting for delivery of your purchase, which at media-mail rate can take up to 3 weeks, and the suspense of discovering how carefully it's been "handled" by good ol' USPS.
Not to mention the simple satisfaction of holding a potential purchase in your hands as you make up your mind whether or not it's worth a slice of your paycheck.
My bottom-line; arguably, the American consumer might never have deserved the sprawl & blight of Wal*Mart, but I firmly believe we don't deserve to be losing the smart, frugal alternative of Borders . .
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Editor Bev O'Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians. A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007. She's a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things.
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A writer for MSN Money since January 2007, Donna Freedman won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. She also writes about smart money tactics for magazines and on her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Mitch Lipka has been warning people about scams and shining light on questionable business practices for more than 20 years. Mitch, the consumer columnist for The Boston Globe, has also been a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Consumer Reports, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and AOL. He won the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer reporting online and was honored in 2011 for his reporting on child product safety.
Marilyn Lewis is an award-winning writer with a passion for getting readers clear, straight information that helps them stay out of financial trouble. A former reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, she works from her home in Port Townsend, Wash. Contact her at MarilynLewis@Outlook.com.
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