Spending my $30 Mervyn’s Gift Card

Right off the bat I’m going to say I wish I could be writing that I spent exactly $30 but alas I didn’t, and so here is my true confession.

My boss gave me a gift card from Mervyn’s as a thank you gift at Christmas. I haven’t had a chance to use it, and two weeks ago she asked me if I’d used it yet. I told her I hadn’t yet, and she said I should go that day. I wasn’t able to go THAT day, but last week Mr. A did our side job himself, which freed me up in the afternoon on the day I’m normally driving 60 miles out of my way.

I’m going on vacation this year, for the first time in, well, I guess I’ve never really taken a vacation as an adult. I currently only work 32 hours a week, so I’m not eligible for paid vacation and I’ve been there 8 years now. Previous jobs I spent my vacation looking for a new job, or as part of maternity leave, or the job simply didn’t offer paid vacation.

I’m going to church camp on my vacation. I’ll be away from home in a neighboring state for five days in July.

That means I needed a swimsuit.

I decided to see what Mervyn’s had to offer. When I got there, I discovered they had a lot of sales going on. The front doors actually said everything in the store was at 75% clearance. I’m not quite sure how they can get by with making that claim, when it wasn’t even close to being accurate, because there were only a few spots around the store at 75% but not the entire store.

One of my coworkers loves costume jewelry sets. I found a set that has a bracelet, necklace and earrings, marked down to $6.18 (regularly $24.98). We also share the same birthday month, so I bought her a set.

I also bought myself a set, but mine are pearls. I’ve been wanting a pearl necklace and earrings for a long time. I thought $6.18 was a steal.

I needed some summery-camp type clothing, too. I found that Mervyn’s had capri jeans on sale for 75% off, too. I usually paid $15 and up for a pair of jeans, and these cost $9.98 – I bought two pair.

I found a pretty red blouse with a black undershirt for $9.48 (regularly $18.98).

I tried on several swimsuits – and found one that I think I can feel comfortable in.

It was regularly $68, marked down to $39.99.

When I got up to the register to check out, the salesclerk asked if I wanted to open an account and save 15%. I said, “Sure.” She responded that I would save $12.00. I thought to myself that wasn’t too shabby. She ran my information through and I was approved. She rang me up and I handed her my $30 off gift card. Now I’d had the gift card there with me, visible, the entire time. She informs me that I can’t use my gift card, I have to put the entire purchase onto the credit card. I was not too happy about that, and she reassured me that I could come back again and use the card. I still wasn’t happy and she said I could pay the credit card off right away and avoid interest fees.

I stood there for about 30 seconds, not sure what to do. First off, I never shop Mervyn’s. While shopping, I asked another customer if Mervyn’s was closing because I’d asked the bank teller if he knew where a Mervyn’s was at and he told me but he said he thought they’d closed. Then there was the 75% off clearance sales at the front doors… she told me Mervyn’s in Texas had closed down and there was rumors that our stores would be closing soon.

So… I didn’t want to still have a $30 gift card on my to do list.

I asked her if she could call a manager. She did. When the manager arrived, the clerk recounted my story. They really tried to convince me to come back and use the gift card at another time. It already took me four months to find the time to come to this store, plus I detest shopping for clothing.

I debated in my head, thinking I could just buy the swimsuit with the gift card and charge the rest, but in the end I’d only be saving about $8. Yes, I know it’s $8 but there is now also the worry about making the credit card payment, making it on time, risking a late fee or interest. Or having to come back again and use the gift card if I charged the whole purchase.

In the end I just had them cancel the transaction and we started over again.

It was worth the $8 to have that worry off my mind.

Normally I don’t mind gift cards, I actually prefer them to having someone pick out something for me and then I end up not liking it or it just adds to my clutter, and then I feel obligated to keep it. But if the gift card is to someplace I never shop, then it becomes a burden. I don’t think Mervyn’s has online shopping; that might have been an option. Although it limits what I can buy, since I will not buy clothing without trying it on. It is not worth the hassle of finding out the item doesn’t look right on me.

After the $30 card, I paid $60.

But I’ve spent it, it’s done and over with and now I just need to write that thank you card to my boss.

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2 thoughts on “Spending my $30 Mervyn’s Gift Card

  1. You made the right decision. Mervyn’s is going out of business, now.

    Also, never let anyone check your credit for so little money! Every time you apply for one of those store accounts, it puts a ding on your credit score that can bring it down and drive up your interest rates on other things. You’ll end up paying a lot more than $12 when that happens.


  2. I agree with Andrea. I wish I had been able to spend the rest of my $12 gift card (leftover balance from before they Mervyn’s closed in TX and I did not foresee them closing and the need to go online when you still could). Oh well, lesson learned and it only cost me $12. I don’t think gift cards are the great present they use to be. You never know who is going to close and when; more and more stores are closing every day.


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