why do vouchers have expiry dates?

this is something i do not understand – why would vouchers expire?


i don’t mean the special offer vouchers that you get in the junk mail, or cut out of magazines. i don’t  include  the free accommodation vouchers that a hotel might hand out which is only valid for a specific period of time (maybe during low season).


i’m referring to the hand-over-cash to buy them vouchers: like if i buy a r100 gift voucher from a store – it has an expiry date. why?


isn’t that voucher just a nicer way to give r100 to my friend? a more spend-specific way to give them r100?


that the shop can turn around after a few months and say – “so sorry, but that voucher has expired, we cannot honour it.” – that’s like putting an expiry date on a banknote.


i had this problem with telkom today – i bought 2 world call calling cards some time back – and i didn’t use all of the credit. i tried to confirm the amount left on it last night, and was told that it had expired. and yep, there it is in small print in the corner, that it expires… so the money i didn’t use just disappears.


i called telkom today – and the call centre agent and his superior hid behind “it’s policy” or “it has expired” or “they have 3 year cycles, these cards” – and there is “nothing we can do”.


i think it is theft – whether the card has expired 6 days, 6 months or 6 years ago. it is money i have paid them, and they have decided they cannot honour.


i’d love to understand the thinking behind this.


and then



what bugged me today: our in-house students who are so part of the “google-research” age – where they learn to copy & paste beautifully, but don’t actually take anything in. they don’t think. they read what they have pasted from a website– stumble over the ‘big’ words – don’t actually understand what they are reading – and then repeat it all again with the next presentation. pity.


what i learnt today: that, apparently, in the xhosa culture you do not speak to someone that is eating (unless of course you are sitting down to a meal together). interesting…


what i am grateful for: hard boiled eggs

2 thoughts on “why do vouchers have expiry dates?

  1. What is the reason why you shouldn’t speak to someone while they are eating? I often find the logic behind these customs very sensible, and think they should be incorporated into our culture.

    For example, also in the Xhosa culture, did you know that you should sit down immediately when entering someone’s room or office? Because if you stay standing, you are sending the message that you have come to fight.

  2. I can understand your frustration about the voucher – but maybe the following explains it a bit.

    The oustanding vouchers are a claim (or debit) for the firm, which can be “cashed” at any stage. If it accumulates ,the outstanding amount can become quite large and can (if turend in within a short space of time) seriously affect the cashflow of a firm. Since there is no way to check how much is actually outstanding at any time, firms all over the world try to limit the risk by adding an expiry date. This can cause frustration, like your experience, but it isn’t totally unrasonable. So, cheer up!

    [The person at the side of “the old one” can tell you, that “the old one” has had gift vouchers just expired when “old one” wanted to use them! No tears … BUT: it doe hurt!]

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