Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Loyalty? For what?

 "Do you have one of our loyalty cards?"
 "No."
 "Would you like one?"

Usually I say, "no" in a way that conveys how I feel about loyalty cards. I sort of shut my eyes and curl my upper lip as though there is a bad smell somewhere and the whole concept of a loyalty card may just be the source of it.

But I was out of my comfort zone. I was in a remnant shop, surrounded by big bolts of lycra and silk and satiny stuff.  I was a bit overwhelmed. I didn't really understand the prices.  Apparently I had to buy that whole roll of black lycra, I couldn't just have a bit. What would I do with a whole roll of black lycra? What would anyone do - unless they planned to start their own swimsuit label?

 "Oh okay." I said, caught off guard.
She was beside herself. She reached into the drawer and pulled out a small piece of cardboard, she folded it in half and explained the deal. She was so breathless with it that I thought it must actually BE a good deal.

 "Keep track of your purchases here..." She indicated the lined side of the card.  "And for every $200 you spend you get $20 worth for free."

You. Are. Joking. Aren't you?

I had struggled to spend $19.95. I'd bought four giant rolls of stuff I would never even use and  it had only cost me $19.95. What did this woman think I was doing at home? Running a sweat shop? $200 worth? This place is on Botany Road with no parking outside. The only reason I stopped was because as I happened to be passing, someone else happened to be pulling out.

Oh I won't be back.

Mostly because I have all the black lycra I'll ever need for a lifetime now.  I was disappointed that I couldn't take it home on the roll.
  "We like to recycle those." She said discretely, as I had tried to joust my way out the door with the lycra still on its giant roll.

(My nine year old was also disappointed. It was the only reason he'd agreed to come in with me. He'd seen all those giant cardboard tubes covered in fabric sticking up out of their bins and immediately started calculating what he could do with one of those: weaponry, homemade didge, periscope... the possibilities were endless.  He had feigned interest in my deliberating and only given himself away when he'd blurted out, "Do we get to take the big cardboard tube home?" ) 

But loyalty cards. Don't get me started.

The other loyalty card I got talked into was a Witchery card. The girl behind the counter told me that I would get invited to special VIP nights. It sounded really glamorous. She also said I'd get "special updates and notices of secret sales."  It felt so clandestine and dangerous.  Secret sales.  Oh happy day!

What I got was this: junk emails in my inbox about various discounts and a 5% discount on anything I bought at full price.  Here's the rub... I don't buy anything at full price. Not in Witchery.  Oh it's way too overpriced! And 5%?  Don't talk to me about 5% as if it's something.

And there were no VIP nights that I got invited to.  That was disappointing. I imagined they'd be giving out free chilled flutes of champagne as you walked in the door to peruse the specially discounted racks of everything you've ever wanted but it was just out of your price range.

I stopped accepting loyalty cards years ago, when my wallet got so chocked full of them that I could no longer find my credit card when I was at the supermarket checkout. (You know, when it has to be found quickly because there's a huge line up behind you and you've just scanned through about $300 worth of groceries and you can't exactly put it all back because you can't find your stupid credit card because of all the STUPID FRIGGIN'  LOYALTY CARDS YOU'VE GOT!!!?)

But every time I buy something:

"Do you have one of our loyalty cards?"
"No."
"Would you like one?"

For a 5% discount and a load of junk emails? For $20 for every $200 spent?

No thank you.

Now, if the loyalty card meant that you got to keep the big long cardboard tube every time... then I think you'd have yourself a very good deal.