Next To Nothing

The collection of personal information by all shops I enter is astounding!

Almost all have a card of some sort: loyalty card, points card, discount card, the options are many. I have 4 airline voyager-type cards, my points are so scattered that any attempt at redeeming and getting value out of them is next to nothing. Actually, it is nothing!

While in Portugal, without exception as I get to the cashier to pay I get asked if I have their loyalty card. When I say no, they ask me if I want one. The answer is always no. I come here once a year so that any chance of getting any value out of such cards is next to nothing. Actually, it IS nothing!

In the queue of a sweltering book shop the cashier asked the person in front of me if he had a card. He said yes but didn’t have it with him. So she proceeded to ask him pertinent information to search for his card number on her system. This took a while as I stood in the queue feeling drops of perspiration snake down my back.

Then came my Mom’s turn to pay. The cashier asked if she had a card. My Mom said no. She then asked if my Mom wanted one. My Mom said yes as she buys a lot from them even though it is only once a year. The cashier then proceeded to collect my Mom’s personal information. This took time. In the sweltering shop it felt like forever.

The rewards offered by these cards are paltry compared to the amount of money you have to spend to get something back. And all the while you get spam SMSs and email offering you all sorts of things you would not take up in a million years.

I worked for a telemarketing company early in my career. Out of each campaign that ran if 10% of the leads generated converted to a sale then it was deemed to be successful. The same applied to mail drops. So I guess that if they get a 10% response out of each promo campaign they’re happy. Not at all like shooting fish in a barrel…or maybe it is…where the fish are tiny tiny goldfish.

I do not have issue with such cards – back in South Africa I have many and sometimes I get something out. I get them just to make the cashier happy. Maybe she gets assessed on how many cards she gets out. As as it does not cost me to have the card. Oh wait…?!? It does cost me to have these cards. Not in money but in the inconvenience of spam communications. It costs to opt-out. And what do I get out of them? Next to nothing! Actually, it is NOTHING!

Do you get anything out of such reward systems?