If you have gift cards for stores that are entering bankruptcy protection, make sure you use them IMMEDIATELY! Once they are in bankruptcy, the gift cards are worthless, since gift cards are legally considered LOANS that you made to the company, and you'll have to get in line with all their other creditors to try to get back a few cents on the dollar (if you're lucky).
Another thing, right when these stores need their customer loyalty the most, the bankruptcy judges are telling them they can no longer honor those gift cards.
It makes since, you've already invested the money! If the store honors them, they are out more merchandise!
Have you noticed the news posts about business' closing over the past year and in the coming future?! For example, I read to day that Home Depot is closing 15 of its least-productive stores! Look it up!
People are getting tighter with their money, and rightly so! It's putting a huge dent in business'!
Many companies actually charge a fee from the card if it is not used before a certain time. I noticed that when I worked at a large chain department store! Your money on the card actually shrinks! If you wait a year, on a card that had $50, you may now only have $40!
So, use the cards now or lose them, and give cash as gifts, NOT gift cards! Cash will always be accepted anywhere, but gift cards are only usable at the issuers shops. Best Buy alone has over $500 million in outstanding gift cards floating around out there! The cards are a scam, and they're hoping you'll never redeem them!