Loyalty Programs: Bogus!

Posted on: Sunday, December 11th, 2011
Posted in: Spendology, Blog | Leave a comment

Everybody’s looking for a way to save money these days.  And nobody’s got more brilliant ideas than Corporate America.  You can’t buy a cup o’ jo or a paperclip without some store-clerk puppet mouthing that smarmy question:

Are you a Bogus Bonus member?”

  • Trick question

This stressed-out consumer dodged those programs like telemarketing calls until, dang it, the cash flow was turning pink and some stores were bleeding my wallet.  Take my hardware store (please): When procuring $1,000 worth of lawn equipment, the sales woman got me all aroused at my potential payback.

  • How could I say no?

So I signed up.  There, and most everywhere.  So now and then, a $5 (or whatever) discount diploma comes in the mail.  One must take them when going to the store. And not forget to use it.  Before the expiration date.  And when shopping, they’ll probably have an irresistible snow blower on the counter, and you’ll spend another $1,000.

  • Worth the hassle?

Are they worth it?  In a word, no.  The issuers send junk mail and spam.  They profile your purchases and probably sell or trade your data.  They pay back a fraction of what you spent to get the “discount.”  And usually, they make you carry around little cards and fobs that make your jeans bulge in strange ways.

  • Take care of your millions…

Back in the day, I worked at a small ad agency with Audrey the Accountant.  She would preach,

If we take care of our pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves.”

Well, yes, BUT.  In the case of loyalty marketing programs, it’s too easy to start thinking like “them,” instead of thinking for yourself.  You get tempted to take extra airline flights to “get the miles.”  You get nowhere.

Audrey, may I respectfully suggest that if you take care of your millions, your dollars will take care of themselves.  Oh, you don’t have millions?  Well then, start saving.  Because spending is rarely the route to wealth.


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