Sunday, November 13, 2011

Giving credit...

In danger of sounding a bit too “Andy Rooney” (rest in peace you Sultan of Snark…) I have to vent about this trend of giving out little plastic key chain cards to earn me points. Points my butt, those little buggers are issued to keep track of my shopping habits. 

The local home improvement store gave me one a few days ago. I was supposed to register it so that my preferences and such could be recorded (for whose benefit?) How often do we go to the home improvement store for the same item? Is my light bulb size of that much importance or could I perhaps be too stupid to remember what wattage I need?  Well I did not record their little card and went ahead and put it on my overflowing keychain…. Ha! So yesterday, I went to the same store and forked over my jumbled junk and low and behold…it was already mysteriously registered. Hmmmmm …. do I have purse fairies who take care of such things while I sleep,  a sort of registration Rumpelstiltskin?   I think the next time I go to this establishment, I will stop by customer service and ask them to look up my wattage records and maybe the size of a recent bath matt purchase just because I can.

One of the little cards has its own plastic cover...guess it needs to practice safe swiping since it came with its own card condom. Another one lost its laminate cover today so I probably ought to keep it on a separate key ring lest some unaccounted for cards show up by “accident”.

Oddly enough, I never seem to clear out the old ones from stores no longer in business as it is too much of a hassle to solve the puzzle of finding the split in the mental ring and working the card out of order.  It is much easier to just keep adding more and more to the point that I am losing my keys inside the pile.  A store I rarely go to has given me three or four (or is it five?) of their cards because I can’t remember to register the previous ones. The counter girl just swipes a new one and gives me the “credit” which does not translate to a discount or much of anything else in most cases.  I am not sure what I am getting credit for, but getting credit has always been a good thing as far as most things are concerned (well…unless it is getting the credit for really screwing something up….) but all in all, I can claim a good key chain credit score.

Used to be we carried bonus cards and frequent shopper cards in a little mini purse inside our larger purse.  That works for women in most cases, but men probably did not want a bulging wallet so they were perhaps reluctant to carry them. Hence the birth of the mini card perhaps?  Just imagine that business meeting roundtable strategy discussion …..”so guys…smaller is better right? All in favor….”  

Overall however, this bonus point idea is getting a bit out of hand if you ask me. Why do I pay full price if I don’t have my full set of keys but sometimes I can get a discount (rare) if I happen to flash the right inch of plastic? Can’t I just get a discount for being nice enough to come to your store and buy something? Often the clerk will offer to “look me up in the system” but I have to give my zip code, phone number, name, or any combination thereof  and if I did not register their little stinker in the first place, I still get my  discount because now I am in the system whether I wanted to be or not.  

There are a few good ones out there however, like the buy 6 ice cream sundaes and get a 7th free.  I sure don’t want to waste my bonus on that deal so one must do what one must do…..  Another store sends me bonus points for my birthday for a few bucks off of a full priced item (which happens to be shoes). Somehow I think I still end paying them more than I am earning in extra credit but birthday bonus points are exempt from common sense. 

I do like the automated check-out systems at the grocery, but one store has a machine that asks me if I have scanned my frequent shopper card yet.  Ring an item and the automated lady asks, over and over until I scan the stupid thing. Nothing like getting nagged while things are getting bagged.  I wish it would have some type of program where she gets more and more irritated the longer one waits to scan the little key chain card. What a hoot to see if one could get the system to short circuit in irritation. It could get louder and louder so other shoppers would turn and stare or hiss out to “swipe it already will ya lady?” 

If I don’t have a key card for a business, I am asked if I am a member. A member of what?  I am much too polite to say out loud what goes through my head, but how I so wish to ask them that question and then if their members have regular meetings. Hello, my name is Judi and I am a member of Office Mx.  “So glad we could all be here together to share our stories….so how about that sale on staplers? I hold out for file folders myself but yes, I do hoard office supplies and need to get my addiction to adorable thumbtacks under control.“  Maybe I don’t want to be a card carrying member of their club.

I am not totally anti the informational grid. If a store wants to give me a legitimate savings on gas or food because I have their card, that is okay. Such a practice does keep one brand loyal.  On the flip side of that, it is very embarrassing to be in line at an alien store (because it is closer) and get the evil eye from everyone else in line because I don’t’ have “their card”.  It is a wonder that warning bells don’t go off when it is revealed to the entire world that I am not of their kind.  So yes, I take the application thing with its attached ornamentation awaiting official registration and drop it into the abyss of my purse in hopes that Rumpelstiltskin will work his magic once again, because goodness knows I won’t.


  1. Them: Are you a store member?
    Me: No. I am in no way responsible for any of this.

    I hate those things.

  2. Dang! Wish I had thought of that snappy comeback.There is always a next time.