I have 22 loyalty cards in my wallet.

They breakdown by type as:

  • coffee cards
  • other food cards
  • clothing/jewellery cards
  • beauty cards
  • supermarket cards
  • random other cards

The cards that I use the most are the coffee cards (Starbucks, Globe, C1, Mondo, Esquires, BBs, Muffin Break, Robert Harris). They great value for money. Every little stamp or click brings me closer to a freebie coffee. I like to save them up and redeem them when I’m poor and needy. There is nothing more joyful than finding a fully stamped card when you are tired and frazzled and in need of a latte. I find it interesting that they all have different schemes to keep me loyal. At C1 I get the 10th coffee free, but if I save up five fully-stamped cards, I can get a free t-shirt! At Muffin Break the fifth and tenth stamp is a free coffee. The Globe Cafe is stingy, they only give me the 11th coffee for free. Esquires has the most complicated system: the third stamp gives me a free flavour shot, the sixth one I get a free size upgrade, and then after I’ve purchased ten coffees, the 11th is free.

I haven’t really figured out how the Countdown Supermarket OneCard works. Perhaps it’s the OneCard to rule them all…but I wouldn’t know. I swipe it every time I go to the supermarket, and nothing has ever happened as a result of all these swipings. But I’m hoping that this will change. Yesterday I logged onto their website and updated my address. I suspect some lucky punter at 43 Brockworth Place has been reaping the benefits of all my (not) hard work. But no longer!

I think the one I love the most is my Body Shop club card. I buy all my beauty products at the Body Shop, and usually stock up every 3-6 months. With my club card, I get a $10 gift voucher every time I spend $100. The dollars rack up really fast, and I usually have an extra $10-20 to spend each time. There is something especially luxurious about free beauty products.

Anyway, my point. Looking through the volume of loyalty cards that I’m carrying around, I question the value of the system. Does it make me any more loyal to a particular brand or store? Not when it comes to coffee. There are three coffee shops within stone’s throw of my work, and I really just visit them at random, using the appropriate stampy-card. So really, there is no particular benefit to the company to hand out these things. There is however, a cost – to me! I must be paying for these things. I assume that the cost of all these freebies are built into the price of the products I buy. On this basis, Michael Moore once implored me to cut my cards up and JUST SAY NO! He argues that loyalty programmes are a trick and a gimmick, and we are paying for them through higher prices at the till. My strategy is to make maximum use of what these stores offer, since I’m paying for it anyway.

It takes commitment to carry all those cards around and have them at the ready, but it’s a commitment I’m prepared to make.

What do you think? Love them? Hate them? Ignore them? Do tell.

11 thoughts on “Loyalty

  1. Thea March 1, 2010 / 2:06 PM

    My main problem is can’t fit all the loyalty cards in my wallet. Maybe they should just hurry and microchip our wrists to solve the problem.

  2. Bebe March 1, 2010 / 2:42 PM

    I think you’re probably joking, but wouldn’t it be great to have one card that loads all that info and you can just swipe it when you buy things … or better still, just scans you as you walk in the store.

    I can almost hear the gasps and mutterings about Big Brother Watching from here…

  3. kiwitravelwriter March 1, 2010 / 2:56 PM

    Like you I’ma coffee slut … loyal only to my taste buds and pocket. And sure you pay for them, but, it you dont save the stamps, you’re paying twice!

    My fav card is for sushi: free sushi tastes SOOOOOOOOOOOOO good, esp when I’m broke as I save them for an indulgence when I’m feeling broke. make me feel less so.

    I also love frequent flier points .. i dont feel trapped when i know I could get on a plane and go spmewhere. Thai arways have just let me know i have some due to expire: not going anyway in Asia before the cut off date so guess I’ll just get some magazine subscritions instead.

  4. Bebe March 1, 2010 / 3:50 PM

    Oh I love frequent flyer points! Most of my NZ flights have been taken using airpoint dollars 🙂

  5. Mama Bear March 1, 2010 / 5:33 PM

    I hate them cos they take up so much room in the wallet but do love getting the freebie when I qualify! I feel like a kid at Christmas! From a business point of view they are great for repeat business – the old theme – keep the customer coming back.

  6. Asgardsfall March 1, 2010 / 9:44 PM

    I dont really seem to have that many loyalty cards, mainly I think because I keep losing them or giving them to you.

  7. Ange March 1, 2010 / 10:35 PM

    I think they are a pain in the arse cos I can’t close my purse cos of them. I feel compelled to keep them, but have only used muffin break card!

  8. BrianAlt March 2, 2010 / 3:26 AM

    I was going to say the same as Thea. I couldn’t possibly hold all those cards in my wallet. I have 3. The supermarket, the drug store and the electronics store.


    P.S. I don’t drink coffee (guess that makes it easier to carry fewer cards).

  9. Bebe March 2, 2010 / 9:10 AM

    Sounds like you all need bigger wallets 😀

  10. juliofromny March 2, 2010 / 4:15 PM

    LOL.. For some reason as I was reading this entry I couldn’t help but imagine Andy Rooney narrating this as his own person experience. It was a fun read, though I can’t imagine having that many cards in my wallet. I’ve had 2 the most of some sandwich place and an indian restaurant and I usually end up losing them before I can reach my free meal.

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