Rob's Soapbox Archives
July 19th, 2010
STOP OFFERING ME CARDS
Last week, while purchasing office supplies the checker asked me “do you have your Staples Rewards Card?” I looked at her, waved my right hand back and forth as if to indicate “no mas,” and simply said to her, “no more…no cards.”
She looked at me as though I was crazy, rung me up and no doubt had security watch me leave her store.
Honestly, seriously; this has to stop. Enough is enough. No one on Earth has a wallet or a purse or a carry-all or an SUV big enough to carry all of the stupid cards, clubs, memberships and rewards programs that have been created in an idiotic attempt to create customer loyalty. Dear Corporate America; do you know how we decide where to shop? Convenience and selection; not the ability to save 10% by driving so far away from our homes that we spend more in gasoline than we save on file folders.
I presume that it all began with what was once called Costco; or in the olden days, Price Club. The Price Club membership card was a thing of stature and status in the late 70’s, especially if you were a boy because you could buy Topps baseball cards by the case. Fair enough, you actually have to pay a membership fee to shop at Costco and Sam’s and the presence of a card to enter such stores seems reasonable.
But c’mon; why in the hell do I need a card to save money at Barnes & Knoble? How about you take the money you are wasting on having your stupid cards made and reduce the price of your books? Now that’s smart business.
The first retail outlet I actually remember offering a card for no reason other than to save money was what used to be called Beverages and More, now hipply known as BevMo. Safeway was quick to follow and the race was on; pretty soon every damn store on earth that sold anything created a card and/or a club; PetSmart and Petco even have dueling “savers cards.”
These cards a menace on all levels. For starters, there is nothing more uncomfortable than being stuck behind someone who doesn’t have a card and wants to save 1.29 on their $12 purchase of groceries; lucky us, we all get to wait while he or she fills out her club card “application” (as though you can be rejected).
Equally annoying is the person who “swears” they are enrolled, only to rattle off every phone number they have had since infancy in a futile attempt find their non-existent account because they have confused Office Depot with Office Max.
Beyond that are the logistics of this insanity; any normal functioning American adult has a minimum number of cards they must carry; a driver’s license, an ATM card, and at least one credit card. Many of us also carry our health insurance cards with us; in some cases for both doctor and dentist, bringing to a minimum the total number of cards, five. Truthfully, most Americans have more than one credit card if you consider the prevalence of gas cards, department store charge accounts and the aforementioned retail membership outlets such as Costco; this says nothing for specialized credit cards to such places as Home Depot and Best Buy and forget it if you want to belong to AAA or any other sort of roadside assistance cub, because you have gone well beyond the standard wallet’s 8 sleeves for cards.
Did you know the CVS pharmacy chain has a savers card? What the hell is that; a discount for addicts to Oxycontin?
This is nothing more than America’s latest Roman Empire moment; we have gotten too big, too spoiled, too stupid, too lazy and too complacent to survive. If there is any good news it’s that my anecdotal research tells me these dopey cards are starting to have the opposite effect of their original intent; more and more I find people who intentionally avoid the stores that have these stupid cards for the convenience of stores that don’t. During my aforementioned office supply quest, I actually sat in my car trying to figure out which store I could go to that wouldn’t request or force upon me their stupid card before realizing that all of the major chains in that retail category have a card; I actually looked at Target for the supplies I needed before resigning myself to having to deal with the painfully uncomfortable moment of being interrogated as to whether or not I had my “Staples Rewards Card.” What’s next; “show me your papers?”
So, keep your cards; take them and shove them so far up your ass that they protrude from your nose…I have had it and I am not alone. Saving 10% on kibble is not nearly as gratifying as being able to look you in the eye and say “no, I don’t have a card and I don’t want one,” just to see the expression on your face. The priceless reaction of people appalled at someone who wouldn’t want to save money in turn for saving their self-respect in priceless. I refuse to be a slave to plastic, membership America. And while we’re on the subject, where are all of the environmentalist whackos protesting the influx of plastic production as a result of these cards? Shouldn’t we be insisting on cards powered by solar energy or human waste or something like that?
But I digress.
Back to the point; stop asking me if I have or want a card at your dopey store because I don’t and I don’t. I want to pay full price in lieu of needing a chiropractor to haul around all of your stupid cards. And by the way, yes I found everything I was looking for and it’s none of your business what I have planned for the rest of the day.