Christmas gift cards.

I don't get the concept. This time of year I try to figure out what the point is of gift cards. You go to a store, give them money and you get a little plastic card that entitles the card bearer to the amount of money paid. You then give this card to a loved one, and this recipient then goes and exchanges this little card for some merchandise.

OK. But what value is added by inserting this card into the process? Why not just give the loved one cash or an actual gift?

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It just seems to me that, at best, a gift card conveys the message "I don't know what exactly you'd like or need but I figured you'd like something from store X at least".

At worst it says "hey I don't know what to get you, but I don't want to give you cash because I am a jerk and only want you to buy something from a specific store since I don't trust you'd spend the money the way I'd like you to".

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