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Card Pool

Gift cards are great for flexibility and freedom of choice, but who really cares about that when you still have to choose a book? Trade your cards for a present that doesn't suck -- cash -- with Card Pool.

Basically an exchange floor for those Aeropostale gift certificates your aunt's convinced you love, Pool sends you straight cash for undesirable gift cards, or lets you trade up for more-desirable ones -- a feature sadly unavailable with roommates who eat other people's Lucky Charms and can't even close the bag back up, Seth. It goes down like this: submit card merchant and value and they'll run it through their system to determine how in-demand it is/how much they're willing to offer, which can be up to 90% of original value for in-demand retailers like Best Buy, Target, and Coach, who is somehow maintaining his authority despite involvement in Sandra Bullock/Ryan Reynolds rom-coms. If you accept, mail in your card and Pool will compensate you via check, or browse their stock of cards for sale or trade-in with various amounts left on them; they've even got a "wish list" section where you can choose specific brands, then be alerted when some fool actually parts with three whole tongue-rings' worth of Hot Topic cards.

In case you decide your newly traded-up card doesn't do it for you, you can send it back within 100 days to get a full refund -- take your cash and do what you always do on lonely Wednesday nights: buy someone that does suck.

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