I was in Rite-Aid the other day to quickly - emphasize quickly buy envelopes. Obviously I was in a hurry. You don't go into a drug store to buy envelopes if you have a leisurely block of time on your hands, you go to an office supply store for that. Or perhaps even Target. But not Rite Aid.
On the way in, I got behind a slow-moving man with a walker who shuffled into the store. I lingered behind him, wanting to be empathetic and taking a moment to give thanks for my more robust health. But as soon as he was into the store, I did an end-run around him, taking a short-cut through cosmetics, and straight for the envelopes where I found a customer with a cart blocking the one section of the shelf I needed while she perused glitter. She grabbed a small glass bottle off the shelf, shook it, put it back. I stood there hoping she'd move her cart so I could just grab my envelopes and leave. She slowly reaches for another bottle and shakes. Why shake glitter? I take action.
I squeeze myself between her cart and the shelf and snatch a box of business size envelopes.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I'll move my cart," the woman says after watching me twist like a contortionist to reach them I told her not to bother, with one acrobatic move I had reached I had my box. I race to the register, trying to beat a woman I see with her cart filled to the top with candy, kleenex and other sundries that would take 20 minutes to ring up.
"Be just a minute," I hear a cashier's voice from somewhere in the photo department.
I stand at the register tapping my fingers for what seems an eternity.
The cashier finally appears and then asks a question that almost always sends my blood pressure north.
"Do you have your Wellness Card?"
"No" I said crisply and tersely. More tersely than I probably should have sounded. But I was in a hurry and I just wanted my envelopes.
"Do you have a Wellness Card?"
"Then can I please have it?"
"I don't have it with me," I said, my blood -pressure beginning to creep up. I'd need the Wellness Card to buy something to calm me down if the conversation continued. Even if I had my Wellness Card there is no law that says I have to use it? Using it adds a few precious seconds to the transaction, seconds I didn't have.
"Then how about a phone number so I can look it up?"
Hoping that would appease her, I gave her my digits and she rang up the purchase, which produced no savings and a coupon for some cream I'll probably never use.
I think what was off-putting was the assumption that I had their card in the first place. She'd didn't say "Do you have A Wellness Card?" No, she said "Do you have YOUR Wellness Card" as if having a Wellness Card was a foregone fact. That's the same tactic other retailers apply when they say at the check out:
"Are you using your (enter department store name: Kohl's, Macy's, Belk) charge?"
As if I have one of their cards in the first place. Even if I do, the question phrased like that is a presumptive intrusion.
The only store rewards card I can really stomach is our Kroger card. At least we get some of the money we spend on groceries back in the form of gas which we can put in our tank to drive back to the grocery store when we need groceries. These reward cards used to seem kind of neat, but now everyone has them and I can't keep track of them and the last thing I want is a wallet stuffed with reward cards I'll never use. Having a phone number to look it up is handy, but it slows down the transaction.
Here are some other reward cards I have or don't have:
STAPLES: This is a big let-down. Since I'm self-employed I buy a lot of office supplies over the course of a year (when I am not stupidly running into Rite-Aid to buy them). I always give them my phone numbers so they can look up my "rewards card", but I'm not sure I've ever received a reward for anything. Maybe $5 off a $100 printing job once.
WALGREENS: They seemed to come to the rewards card carnival late in the game but I really don't find any great savings. How about this? If there's a way to make the product less expensive, why not just lower the price to begin with? Why make the customer swear a loyalty oath?
CVS: I don't even know if I have one of their cards or not. But I learned a long time ago not to get into a cash register kabuki dance over this one. When the clerk even brings up the card - and believe me, he/s she will - I just have them enter my mother-in-law's phone number. It's not an act of spite, I adore my MIL, I just know she has a CVS card and her phone number rolls off the tongue quickly and easily but I'm sure she might be puzzled if she is getting coupons for any shaving items or other male products.
Are there any store reward cards or loyalty cards that you actually use and like? If so, I'd sure like to hear about them....