At last year’s prizegiving, I won a bunch of gift cards for Waterstones – £70 in fact. It’s not the best prize that I can imagine – a free week off school or some privileges at school would be better, or even just cash. The problem with Waterstones is that nearly everything that they sell is overpriced to the point that I only ever shop there out of necessity. This morning I found myself in that situation again when I found the cards in an old coat pocket. Over breakfast I decided to – what else? – read the small print.
It the small print that always puts me off companies. I won’t go into great detail, but it just becomes clear that gift cards are just one big money-spinner. Cards not used for two years will be deactivated. Waterstones retains the right to cancel gift cards at any time. Only one card per online transaction.
It’s this last one the annoyed me. Having decided that, I should probably make use of these gift cards, I turned to the internet. Going instore would mean a long, cold, windy and wet walk, and no Amazon to check prices. There is also a terrible range instore, whilst searching through the vast Waterstones internet stock takes seconds, so the internet was the obvious choice. The problem is that my £70 wasn’t on one single card, it was split into 5 £10 gift cards and a £20 card. Only using one card per transaction meant that I would either leave money on the card, or have to supplement my purchases with real money. Why they limit you to one card, I don’t know. Perhaps I should email them.
In any case, I chose a selection of books that I liked and that weren’t ridiculously priced compared to Amazon, and then I bought them. In four separate transactions. (I also bought a book from Amazon too, making it five).
These are the books which are on their way to me:
- Bad Science by Ben Goldacre.
- Tricks of the Mind by Derren Brown.
- Days of Reading & Du Côté De Chez Swann by Marcel Proust.
- Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland.
- Why I Write by George Orwell.
- The Code Book by Simon Singh.
- Quirkology & Did You Spot the Gorilla?1 by Richard Wiseman.
Click on the image of a book to read what I have written about each book.
- I didn’t spot the Gorilla. ↩