I’ve been visiting the same bread shop for about a year now, every week. On Friday afternoon, Bronwen and I go to the mall for a beverage, a muffin and a catch up. I hear all about what’s going on in her life and we watch the world go by for an hour or so. Once we are finished with that, we go and see the ladies at Baker’s Delight. Usually we are served by Angela. She’s lovely. And sometimes, for whatever reason, we don’t make it to the bread shop on Friday afternoon and we get our bread on Saturday morning instead. Riveting stuff, huh? Well that’s not the story, so read on!
A few weeks ago, I was offered a loyalty card. I have tonnes of these things from all over the place, so of course I said yes. I love ’em! (see Loyalty for more about this). This card turned out to be more complicated than the others…
As a goodly loyal bread-consumer, I collected my stamps $6 at a time as required (two loaves of bread for $6.50, a bargain!). Once I got to the 5th stamp, the Saturday lady (not the lovely Angela, some harpy called Sue) explained to me that I needed to redeem my freebie right then and there. I had to buy my two loaves of bread, and then take my other loaf at the same time. Huh?! Here are the rules in the world according to Baker’s Delight:
- I collect stamps until I get to the 5th stamp.
- In order to get my free bread, I must collect the 5th AT THE SAME TIME as I redeem my freebie.
- In order to do this, I have to spend $6.
So I always get two loaves for $6.50. That’s enough to get the 5th stamp and I can redeem my freebie … another loaf of bread. But I don’t want three loaves of bread. I want to be able to redeem my freebie NEXT time I’m visiting with Angela (or god-forbid, Sue).
Sue kindly pointed out that I could just pay for ONE loaf of bread (at $4.90) and then get something else to ‘make up’ to $6 in order to get a loaf of freebie bread. But why would I do this? I only ever buy two loaves of bread – that’s all I ever want. I’ve never even look at the other offerings in the cabinet. I argued with Sue about the logic of requiring customers to take their freebie at the same time as their purchase (i.e., you can have a free coffee, but you have to buy a coffee first…what if you only want ONE coffee?!). My arguments fell on deaf ears. It is the way things have always been done, explained Sue. Sigh.
This weekend, I decided to humour Sue. I dutifully selected my one loaf, and an additional scone because it was the cheapest non-bread item on the menu. I paid my money, got my stamp and received my free bread. I took my bread and scone, and off I went. Then we sat down and analysed the transaction (I know, but this is how things roll in our house, okay?).
- I paid $4.90 for my one loaf.
- I paid $2.20 for the scone.
- I got a free loaf (hurrah, free stuff!).
- I spent $6:30 in total.
- I received a useless scone that I didn’t want.
- In essence, my loyalty saved me a grand total of .20 cents.
Am I the only one that thinks this is strange? Sue thinks it makes perfect sense. It made me so mad I wanted to rip up the card. And that’s pretty mad for me, especially when, as you can see, I’m SO close to another free loaf.
So now what should I do? Should I continue with the stamps and collect inedible scones? Should I rip up the card? Should I, as Stephen suggested, refuse to go back there until my loyalty is rewarded in the manner to which I am accustomed? It is REALLY delicious bread. It forms the backbone of our weekends. I just don’t know.