Use the following information at your own discretion and pass it along if you feel it is warranted:
I got out of the habit of forwarding lots of emails I get in the old inbox because I would often get a reply back from my brother with an "urban legend" note debunking the email I had forwarded.
Well, SNOPES is a great place to check out emails. They are pretty reliable and up to date with their information. I found the following links regarding emails about store closings and gift card alerts that I thought would be useful to those of you who might be interested:
I am publishing this post for this reason: A number of the stores on this list may be in the process of closing underproducing stores, but are by no means near bankruptcy or going out of business. The disservice of this email is dissuading people from making purchases at some of these stores who are still in operation and honoring their gift cards.
I also want to say that a lot of disinformation unintentionally gets circulated by well meaning people who don't know that the information is somehow inaccurate. That is why I use snopes. I also got tired of the replies from my much wiser, techno-savvy brother.
In both instances where I received emails about the store closings and gift card issue the following email arrived in my inbox:.
I wanted to give everyone a heads up that if you tend to give gift cards around the holidays, you need to be careful that the cards will be honored after the holidays. Stores that are planning to close after Christmas are still selling the cards through the holidays even though the cards will be worthless January 1. There is no law preventing them from doing this. On the contrary, it is referred to as 'Bankruptcy Planning').
Below is a partial list of stores that you need to be cautious about.
Circuit City (filed Chapter 11)
Ann Taylor- 117 stores nationwide closing
Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug ,and Catherine's to close 150 stores nationwide
Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January
Cache will close all stores
Talbots closing down specialty stores
J. Jill closing all stores (owned by Talbots)
Pacific Sunwear (also own ed by Talbots)
GAP closing 85 stores
Footlocker closing 140 stores more to close after January
Wickes Furniture closing down
Levitz closing down remaining stores
Bombay closing remaining stores
Zales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January
Whitehall closing all stores
Piercing Pagoda closing all stores
Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January
Home Depot closing 15 stores 1 in NJ ( New Brunswick )
Macys to close 9 stores after January
Linens and Things closing all stores
Movie Galley Closing all stores
Pep Boys Closing 33 stores
Sprint/Nextel closing 133 stores
JC Penney closing a number of stores after January
Ethan Allen closing down 12 stores
Wilson Leather closing down all stores
Sharper Image closing down all stores
K B Toys closing 356 stores
Loews to close down some stores
Dillard's to close some stores
Most of the information I have read is that store closing do not indicate financial distress and could be related to the opening of other stores. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is reorganization and closing of the business is not inevitable. When buying gift cards it would be wise to ask the customer service rep about the conditions that apply to the cards and expiration dates, but other than that you should be able to check store websites and determine whether or not stores are staying in business or honoring their gift cards. Snopes was last updated on store closings on November 22nd and usually tries to confirm information with the companies listed before making posts.
This is just FYI, we are all called to be good stewards, but not buying gift cards at businesses for fear they are closing when it might not be true would be a great disservice to the economy, the businesses and the consumer. I checked it out because Lane Bryant is one of my favorite stores - though I only shop the clearance rack... Well, except for their lingerie - there are certain products in their line that are the only ones I can buy and if that is TMI... I'm so, so sorry. (Cache, by the way, is a part of Lane Bryant stores). CORRECTION: Cacique is part of Lane Bryant... Cache is not! YIKES! I always get them mixed up when reading. Sorry - see what I mean about well intended people unintentionally giving out misinformation? I'm guilty of my own remark, many apologies. ;o)
On the flip side, my parents bought furniture from Levitz before they began liquidation in 2007. They had some issues with product quality and were looking for Levitz to guarantee their purchase per their agreement. They were not accomodated and stuck with defective merchandise. Caution is warranted, but when you are getting a deal in a store closing situation it might be beneficial to note you are getting what you pay for... and sometimes that includes a NO MONEY BACK GUARANTEE! Let the buyer beware.
(P.S. Washington Mutual was in distress, but it was not until a misguided political official announced publicly that it was in financial trouble and they were closing their doors that a run on the bank put them out of business. This kind of information is a disservice and can have huge, tragic consequences. Have you seen the stock market lately?)