Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Magic World of Loyalty Cards

I can't say no to loyalty cards.  I never realized this until the other day when I accepted a loyalty card from a restaurant which I know I will never - as in the "never" of everyday parlance - visit again.  The lure of getting a free portion of chips or half a chicken with my next menu proved just too much and before I knew it I had accepted the card and put it in my wallet with all those other loyalty cards.

I spend hours registering on loyalty card sites.  Finding a suitable ID is harder than you think, I always find.  I suppose the easiest thing would be to use the same ID and passport for every site but a friend of mine, who happens to be an IT junkie, told me this makes it easier for a hacker to get into your loyalty sites.  Well, I don't want that.  It sounds nasty, doesn't it, people getting into your loyalty cards?  Not that I think it would do a hacker any good to see how many Real Rewards I have at SuperValu, or points at Debenhams or indeed how much free chicken I am likely to get at that restaurant.  At any rate, by the time I have fought through the whole process of ID-creating, I am exhausted and cranky.  And there's a very real possibility that when I check into the site again, I won't be able to remember my password or ID correctly and I'll have to go through the "forgotten password" process.

It's worth it in the end, of course.  You can really save some money and get yourself a treat.  And I don't blame the stores for trying to ensure that customers come back.   Small shopkeepers don't have the budget, of course.  The only way they get people to come back is by providing a service which the customer wants. What I like most about small shops is the personal contact.  That's where the big stores miss out no matter how pleasant the sales assistant is. I can't chat to my loyalty card, can't complain about the weather or find out what's going on with the neighbours or tell anyone about what my kids are up to.  I just hand over my loyalty card together with my money to a smiling employee who wouldn't know me from Adam if she saw me ten minutes later.

Next time I'm asked if I have a loyalty card and if not would I like one, I know I'm going to say yes please and start the online registration process as soon as I get home.  Don't want any bargains to slip through my fingers,now do I?  In years to come will there be a therapy for loyalty card junkies?

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