Consumer electronics are some of the hottest gift items, but also among the worst investments. Like new cars, electronics depreciate the minute you take them out of the store. Their value is in the use, and once that has been outlived, they aren't worth much.
Even if you aren't an early adopter who has to have the latest and greatest technology as it comes out, odds are pretty good you've got a few older gadgets laying around. And after cell phones, iPods may be the most abundantly replaced electronic item.
According to one source, Apple has sold close to 275 million iPods since they were launched in late 2001. And at the rate we are getting new ones -- Apple says it's activating 275,000 devices every day -- that's a lot of iPods laying around gathering dust.
Turn those old devices into dollars with a trade-in, just as you would with an older model car. Toys R Us is offering this very opportunity through Oct. 23. Take an old, but still functional, iPod to a Toys R Us store. If there's no visible damage and unit still works, you'll get an amount based on the age of the unit toward a new iPod. You're limited to three iPods and values cap out at $100 per item.
The trade-in total will be loaded into an "iPod trade-up gift card," according to the company. It will be immediately redeemable for a new player or use it later, for holiday gifts.
Toys R Us isn't the only retailer with a trade-in program, although last year it began taking in used video games. Best Buy, Costco, Target and Walmart all take trade-ins. Values vary greatly and none are so specific as to be used for purchase of new model of the exact item. Still, if an iPod in any of its various forms -- Nano, Shuffle, Touch -- are on your holiday gift list, this may indeed be a program for you.
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