Every time I walk into my local supermarket, and there are at least three national chains within ten minutes walk or drive from my home, I am always bamboozled by their insistance I put my club card into their computer while they check me out, an action that, more often than not, results in a considerable discount from an ever inflationary bill. When I do this, I often ask the cashier why the company just doesn’t advertise their very best prices for the food that I buy instead of using this idiotic system fronted by a so called loyalty card? I just don’t see the point in these cards. What are the supermarkets hoping for? Do they expect exclusivity from me as a customer and anticipate my shopping needs with them will never warrant a visit to their ‘just as competitively priced’ rival down the street? Come on, give me a break. All they want is my phone number, and address, so they can sell it to another organization who will then bombard me with junk mail, either on line or in my mail box. This is a con. All these supermarket chains should get their acts together and offer rock bottom prices and then, and only then would they see complete loyalty. It amazes me to walk in and see their special offers and it also makes me laugh. A typical day at my local Safeway, ‘A T bone steak, 14.99 a pound for Club Members only” regular price $28.99 a pound. So you don’t take a steak because you’re not a club member, and yet, when you get to the check out and the man or woman adding up your purchases asks you that all too familiar question “did you scan your club card sir? “, answered by, “no I don’t have one” when suddenly, and out of nowhere, comes the magic card that they keep below the counter, and Hallelujah, miracle of miracles, your bill is reduced as if by an act of God. All you can do is stand there, look them straight in the eyes and while salivating, ponder why you never went for that T bone! And then, to cap off what has now become a miserable experience, and while you’re still deflated from the T bone error, they give you a bunch of coupons that are randomly expelled from a nearby printer. Taking one look, you then have a dilema, “Should I return for the $1.30 off the Ultra Tampons, or should I wait to use the 50 cents off a jar of baby food?” Oh how this cruel world works. Why couldn’t they give me a free ice cream Dove Bar, or indeed a years supply of toilet roll? At least I can use these products! Which brings me to my next pet peeve. Are you single? Have you ever tried to shop small? By small I mean, is there such a thing as a regular sized bag of potato chips, one where I don’t feel I need to put on 100 lbs just by looking at it! Can you buy one piece of cooked chicken and not the whole bloody thing? It seems not, and it’s just getting worse. Case in point. Last week I shopped for strawberries, and when I got to the checkout, the nice lady said to me, “oh you get two for the price of one!”, “really” I replied, “yes, would you like Bob to get you another”, “oh no” I said with my usual smiling face, “I could never eat that many strawberries”, “but it’s free!” and with that last statement, I realized why obesity is so rife in the USA! “I can’t eat them all and I don’t want them!” I shouted, a statement that she just could not understand! It was as if an alien had just landed. In the end, I told her to give them to someone who needed them, which, in the area that I reside, is like going to Dublin and not being able to find a pub that sells Guinness.
So, at the end of the day, it’s clear to me, as clear as mud, that these markets have no idea why they are pursuing this card policy and once it was started by one, and to be very honest, I have no idea which one was stupid enough to bring this system to into our overly complicated lives, all the others just followed. Well lets hope and pray that one day, and one day soon, someone comes along and says,’enough!’ and swears to abide by a common code of sensible business practices, giving the shopper what he or she wants, at the best price he or she can get.