A very inexpensive, small, and quickly obtainable token of my thanks
June 18, 2014 1:47 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to give an inexpensive token of thanks to each of around 40 people. They are physicians and nurses who are helping on a project. It needs to be something I can get quickly, travel with easily, and ideally no more than $4 US. My ideas so far are Amazon gift cards or Starbucks gift cards. What token gift would you like to receive if you were one of them?
posted by neutralmojo to Shopping (27 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
In my experience, you have to put a minimum of $5 on a Starbucks card, which is unfortunate because that is exactly the gift I would like to receive in this situation.
posted by sockermom at 1:49 PM on June 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

Starbucks gift card.

No question.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:55 PM on June 18, 2014

I know I'm sounding like a boring grandma here, but why not just nice thank-you cards? Honestly, if I received a gift card for $4 part of me would wonder why you bothered.
posted by oinopaponton at 1:55 PM on June 18, 2014 [18 favorites]

Nice pens? I mean, $4 will only get you regular disposable pens but it will get you something above average like a Pilot V5 (always been my favourite). I bet doctors and nurses would do a lot of writing and appreciate a nice pen.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:57 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm with oinopaponton -- a gift card vanishes from their memory as soon as they use it for a single cup of coffee or a fifth of a book, but a genuine, heartfelt card will be remembered and likely saved.
posted by Etrigan at 1:59 PM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

The Starbucks card --- although it would be nice if you could make it $5 per card. Either way though, $4 or $5, that's not really enough to do anything with on Amazon, but it works for Starbucks.
posted by easily confused at 1:59 PM on June 18, 2014

We give gifts to Doctors and others who present at our University (sometimes in big bunches) and nice pens, imprinted with our logo, go over very well. I think we pay around $5 per, including imprinting. I'm not talking a Bic pen here, but a nice, solid pen that reminds them of us long after they've left the campus.
posted by anastasiav at 2:02 PM on June 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

Can you bring food to share? Fruit, chocolates, nuts? 40 x $4 = a lot of food if you buy in bulk!
posted by travelwithcats at 2:04 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have no idea if this site is legit, but it looks good! Gift certificates for vegetables? And Ice cream? and PIE.


A bit higher than your range. I did a search after I couldn't find Ben and Jerry vouchers on Amazon.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 2:07 PM on June 18, 2014

When I want to thank a large group, I make my World's Greatest Fudge, recipe below, wrap each piece in plastic wrap with a little bow from that inexpensive curly ribbon, and leave with a card at their desk. It is inexpensive and meaningful and people never seem to get over the ***Fudge Experience.***

World's Best Fudge Recipe

Mixture 1
3 cups white granulated sugar
1 stick butter
1 tsp salt (optional, unnec. with salted butter)
1 can EVAPORATED milk

Mixture 2
18 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
18 full sized marshmallows
1 cup chopped nuts (optional, I never use)
2 tsp vanilla

Prepare mixture 2 in separate large bowl and set aside. Combine mixture 1 in saucepan. Bring to boil. Boil exactly 6 minutes, STIRRING CONSTANTLY, and from the bottom. Remove from heat.

Add mixture 2 to saucepan. Stir VIGOROUSLY until marshmallows melt.

Pour into 9 x 12 or so buttered pan. Cool. Cut.
posted by bearwife at 2:10 PM on June 18, 2014 [64 favorites]

Echoing the 'thank you cards' suggestions above. You're not really going to get something that costs $4 that doesn't come across as "Wow, that is the most token of token gifts that cheapskate would go for?"

Individually addressed and messaged thank-you cards are ideal.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:22 PM on June 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

I don't know, for me, a $4-5 gift card, while of course appreciated, falls into a weird category. It's such a little amount that it almost seems like a trivial gift. I like the pen idea, or I would like something like a nice eraser or a single moleskine out of a pack with a thank you note stuck inside. A really nice bookmark - or some other nice little luxury from a stationery store would give me a warm feeling.
posted by umwhat at 2:24 PM on June 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

Meant to add, that recipe looks delicious but beware of food as gifts. You have no idea which people have which allergies or other dietary restrictions.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:25 PM on June 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

I would feel odd if someone gave me a $5 gift card and weirder still if it was $4. A gift card outright tells the person how much you spent - and such a small amount really devalues the gift. I would much prefer a thank you card. I saved the cards I've received from my students' parents and our student teachers and it's nice to read that appreciation. Much more meaningful than the other gifts I've received.
posted by Aranquis at 2:34 PM on June 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

Thank you cards, yes. Do that instead. A $4 gift card is weirder than you think.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:38 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Honestly, a $5 Starbucks card is the most appealing option. It is enough to buy a nice drink, which is a good token of your appreciation. You can pair it with a note if you want - something like "Thanks for everything - have a coffee on me!" or something about how as a token of your appreciation you'd like to buy them coffee.
posted by hepta at 2:44 PM on June 18, 2014

If you've just got $4 a person to spend, I would go for buying really nice, fancy thank-you cards with heartfelt sentiments.
posted by PearlRose at 2:48 PM on June 18, 2014

Thanks everyone for your ideas and recommendations. It seems food, pens, and personal thank you cards are all appreciated. If only I could bake some personalized pens that would accommodate dietary restrictions ;-)

I will avoid testing the theory that a $4 gift card will get me weird looks.
posted by neutralmojo at 2:49 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I will swim against the tide and say everyone loves cash. Go with credit card style "gift cards" that say "thank you, professional, for taking time out of your busy day to participate in this study." It's not like it's your bubbie's birthday we're talking about here.
posted by Lardmitten at 2:57 PM on June 18, 2014

$5 Amazon gift cards went over really well with folks who worked for me on a similar endeavor.

Pins are also OK, but the really neat ones might be above what you're willing to pay.
posted by mitschlag at 3:10 PM on June 18, 2014

You might consider making a gift to a relevant charity or non-profit in their collective names; that would give me warm fuzzies more than a $4 pen.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 3:13 PM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Do all of these people work in the same business and in the same location? this changes the kinds of thing you can get - by combining the $4 x 40, you can get them a nice lunch together or something like that. Or as mentioned above, make a charitable contribution.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:17 PM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

I just took my compliance training at my healthcare related job and gift cards and cash equivalents of any value are supposed to be refused. Food and other perishable items that can be shared are acceptable so I would go with cookie bouquets or something like that. Meals less than some sort of value ($25 or something) are also ok so maybe taking all the participants out could be a thing?

My employer might be special in this regard but we are pretty big so it might be a policy a lot of healthcare providers have.
posted by fiercekitten at 7:43 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

A $5 Starbucks card almost isn't worth having. After one use, t'll just end up being that card in your wallet with an $.83 balance that you always forget to spend.

I think the charity idea is a great one.

You might also find something in your price range on DealExtreme. They have loads of inexpensive items--some (though certainly not most) are very cool.
posted by yellowcandy at 8:54 PM on June 18, 2014

Do they have a Starbucks in their work neighborhood? There are plenty of Starbucks in my city, but the Dunkin' Donuts is right down the street from the hospital and so it's the real go-to for everyone.

Personally, I think a pen is a little weird...and unnecessary, as most healthcare people are swimming in them from conferences and pharma reps and such.

A card is great. (Not an e-card, a paper card.) I'm assuming everyone is not in the same space, but if you could also make a delivery of coffee, bagels, and fruit happen in the morning, that would be brilliant. (Not as a surprise, give a heads-up.)
posted by desuetude at 11:00 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Maybe you could persuade this company to come towards you on the pricing (because of the large quantity and/or cause) of their seven year pens (I'd be happy to get one).
posted by mirileh at 10:27 AM on June 19, 2014

I just came acrost this site: http://www.stonepapernotebook.com/.

You have to buy 150 minimum, but it just ekes under your $4 per head requirement once you get your company (or personal! give them as general holiday / thank you tokens) logo screened on it.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 11:18 AM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

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