Tuesday, 4 October 2011

And the point is?

Ever since they were invented, I’ve had a bee in my bonnet about loyalty cards. "I’m inherently disloyal" I declare at the checkout, which always raises a few eyebrows.

As a young researcher, I witnessed the invention of scanners and quickly realised the revolution they were going to create. Correlating every purchase to your age, socio-economic status, where you live and back to the frequency of every item you have ever bought, loyalty cards are great if a relationship is what you really want.

Loyalty had been around for a while, of course. As a small child, I remember my Granny painstakingly sticking her Green Shield stamps into books that grew fatter by the month, then trading them in at the glitzy showroom in Amanford. We’ve swapped licking for swiping - there’s progress - but stamps were simple, they rolled out of the till, no questions asked. 


In the seventies and eighties, my Dad collected cigarette coupons - crystal cut tumblers from the Benson and Hedges catalogue. I’m sure they were called Gold Points - my brother and I were so impressed. We both grew up to be smokers and though the vouchers weren’t all there was to it, the opportunity was sure as hell golden.

I prefer the spend fifteen pounds on fuel and get this for only three quid kind of offers, myself. You need fuel and either want the deal or you don’t - it’s an honest, one night stand of a ploy. Otherwise, what goes in, on and out of my body is entirely my affair, no matter much cashback you have to offer.


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Image: Bill Longshaw / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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