May 28, 2013

Sorry about that Borders gift card


You shall not redeem this gift card (because a judge said that you can’t).

Remember that Borders gift card you’ve had in your desk drawer for a couple of years? Toss it.

17.7 million other people have forgotten about their gift cards, to—making a grand total of $210.5 million in worthless plastic rectangles. It’s hard to conceive of a number that big, and I find it’s easier conceptualize money as space on a bookshelf, so let’s convert this to Melville House dollars. Our entire novella series–43 books–costs $350 as a set, so the world is missing out on approximately 14,000 novellas.

Reuters explains why U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter ruled against honoring the cards:

To do so, Carter explained, could upset liquidation by Borders’ bankruptcy trustee that is already ‘substantially’ completed… Card holders failed to prove they met all the requirements for an exception, including that unsecured creditors whose interests might be harmed had been notified about the litigation and given a chance to object.

In December 2010, the government ruled that gift cards cannot expire unless they’re sold at a discount. Not so when a company is liquidated. If you want to read the gory details of the Borders liquidation, we’ve written about it here before.

Also, it’s probably time to clean out your desk drawer.


Kirsten Reach was an editor at Melville House.