Earlier this year I received 3 very different types of gift card. One was a national book token. One was a gift card from TM Lewin. The other was from John Lewis. In some ways these were perfect gifts for a man like me. I love books, I love clothes and I like shopping. 3 gift cards with 3 positive outcomes.
However, it also struck me how different these cards were. The national book token can be used in a range of book sellers, so wherever I fancy buying my book, whether from national chains like Waterstones, WH Smith, or Blackwells or more local based bookshops, I can use my National Book token in multiple locations.
The exception seems to be supermarkets, despite the fact that increasing numbers of people buy books at the supermarket, because of the convenience if nothing else.In contrast, the John Lewis card can only be used at John Lewis Partnership. Ditto for the TML card. This is standard procedure for big stores, each having their own card. The big difference with the John Lewis card, of course, is that the JLP doesn’t just sell clothing, it also sells a bewildering range of items from electronics to homeware to foodstuff via Waitrose. So you have a very wide range of possibilities on which to spend your gift card.
My slight problem is that I don’t normally shop at John Lewis. The last thing I can recall buying at JLP, apart from a couple of shoe brushes, was my wedding suit. It was a fantastic suit, perhaps one of the best I’ve ever owned. However, that was back in 1996… There’s a story to it also. Might get round to blogging about it in due course…That I haven’t been back is not because I don’t like JLP; it’s more that there are fewer of them around and I’ve not been near enough to one to make regular trips. However, now that I’ve got a gift card burning a hole in my pocket I’ll need to find my nearest JLP.
That set me thinking. Wouldn’t it be great to create a gift card which worked a bit like national book tokens, but for gentlemen outfitters instead? Say a Jermyn Street Gift card, for example.
So if my loved ones wanted to bless me with a gift they load up my card and I could decide to buy a shirt at T M Lewin, chinos at Tyrwhitt, and cufflinks at Hawes & Curtis. Those of you who have really generous friends might use their gift card to get a shirt from Turnbull & Asser, Blazer from Cordings (I know they’re not on Jermyn Street but they are on the parallel street so close enough), tie from Thomas Pink, shoes from Crockett & Jones or a hat from Bates.At the moment I have a gift card from T M Lewin but the things I am coveting right now are in Charles Tyrwhitt, with no easy equivalent in TML. So I will be spending money when I have gift cards not currently being used. To be fair I am sure they will be used in the future.
My guess is that a Jermyn Street Outfitters Gift Card wouldn’t be that hard to set up given that each of the major players already has a gift card programme. Moreover, if there were one programme to which 20 different gentlemen outfitters signed up it should lower the costs of operation for each of them andf open up choice for us. Everybody wins.So if any enterprising financial wizards out there have any idea how we could get this off the ground, get in touch. I’d love to see a Jermyn Street Outfitters Card come to market in a few years time. I could then suggest that if people want to give me a gift, that would be the best bet.
However, until then, I am still open to receiving gifts of whatever kind you would like to give. #justsayin