I wasn’t really sure what to call this, but it seems to work. Basically, I like to give people actual things as gifts, gift cards just seem kind of half-assed. But I don’t like paying for shipping, and sometimes feel a bit of guilt about shipping large items.
So here’s the idea. You go to walmart.com (or whatever) and actually purchase a product. What you get is a coupon that you send to the recipient (or even deliver it via email), and they take it to their local store and redeem it for the product that you wanted to give them. You could even “wrap” the gift by not actually indicating what it is on the card. In a perfect world I’d be able to pay their local sales tax and what not as well.
The closest thing I’ve encountered to this is on itunes where you can buy an album for someone, and they are sent a link to download it. I know its’ a bit more complex for something you actually hold in your hand, but I’m sure that at least the big parts of this are possible (and even quite simple). Is anyone aware of companies that offer a service like this?