I heard that the meaning behind "Looking a gift horse in the mouth" has it's roots in looking at a horse's teeth to determine how healthy it is. Therefore, if someone gives you a horse as a gift, and you quickly look in it's mouth to see how healthy it is, that is kind of demeaning to the person who gave the horse. I was guilty of this today, but I think I was somewhat justified.
A family member gave my husband a gift card to "Macy's" store. We don't normally shop there because their prices are high. The only things I ever buy there are things I find on the clearance racks. My husband never had time to use the gift card, so told me to use it for myself. I decided to try to find something for him. But he is on the large side, and they didn't have anything in his size. I finally found two shirts that looked like they would fit, even though they were a size smaller. Alas, no, and I had to return the shirts today.
I knew they didn't have any shirts in a bigger size, so I decided to just return them. I had hoped that they would give me the money back, but no, they insisted on giving me another gift card. This was upsetting, because I knew they didn't have anything I could buy for my husband that he needed. I decided to do what he suggested and use the money on something for myself, and let him buy something another day. I found a pair of pants on clearance, and thought they would give me the leftover change. But it turned out that the pants were on an additional sale, and there was $10 leftover. The store would not give me that $10 in cash, so I still had a gift card.
I was really frustrated because I didn't want to pay their prices for anything, even though the money card was a gift. Finally I just went and bought some socks for my son, even though I normally wouldn't have paid that much for socks.
My parents have always said that they don't like gift cards very much because it's difficult for them to get to a town that has the stores where the gift cards were bought. At the time I thought they were also guilty of looking a gift horse in the mouth. But now I realize that a sick horse really isn't that great of a gift. ;)