Reward Cards

The other day I went to Walgreen’s to buy reading glasses. At the checkout stand the lady behind the counter asked me if I had a Walgreen’s reward card. I told her I didn’t have one. Then while she was ringing me up she stopped and told me that the glasses I am buying are on sale, buy one get one free. So I went back to pick out another pair. When I got back she asked me again if I had a Walgreen’s reward card. I again told her that I do not. It turns out that the BOGO only works if you have a rewards card. So I spent the next few minutes going through the process of giving this lady all kinds of personal information in order to set one up. Then I added the rewards card to the growing stack of reward/membership/loyalty plastic in my wallet. At least I have a spare set of reading glasses.
I don’t know why, but reward cards really piss me off. Every time I buy something the clerk asks three questions.
1. Did you find everything you need? (What kind of question is that?)
2. Do you want to save x% on your purchase by applying for our credit card today?
3. Do you have a rewards/membership card?

The first two are easy to answer, just tedious. “Yes, and no thank you” The last question is the one that irks me.

Why don’t they just say, “If you don’t sign up with our rewards/membership/loyalty card we are going to have to charge you more, sorry that’s just they it is. We call it a tax on people who aren’t loyal. I am sure you understand.”

There are many ways of thinking about savings and sales. Take for instance my purchase of reading glasses.
I intended on buying one pair of glasses. I paid $10.00 for one and left with two, and a membership card.
So I could look at it as a $10.00 savings on my purchase.
Or I could say that I bought two glasses for $5.00 each. (Half price)
Or are they charging $5.00 too much for a single pair of glasses.
Or due to their pricing structure I should have been able to apply for their rewards card and walk out of the store with one pair of glasses for $5.00. The math would work out the same way, but it isn’t allowed.
You could also see how a person who doesn’t get a reward card and buys one pair of glasses inadvertently paid for my second pair.
Oh, and the last question they ask at the checkout counter is “Is plastic ok?”
Yes, plastic is fine, as long as it is not in the form of a little rectangle.

I don’t see it as a reward; I see it as a tax on the people who don’t use the damn things.


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