Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Don't call it a bonus ...

Like any adult male, my wallet contains my drivers' license, passport card, a couple membership cards, some credit cards and 413 bonus cards from various stores across Western New York.

The credit cards and membership cards are kind of necessary. So is the drivers' license and passport card. But those bonus cards really what makes my wallet too cumbersome. And with Lent over and me being able to eat chicken wings again, I thought I should give something else up: Bonus cards.

I'm not going to carry them. I'm not going to use them. I'm opting out of the scam that is the bonus card.

Okay, I just cleaned my wallet out. There weren't really 413 bonus cards. Just nine. Two from grocery stores, a restaurant, a pet store, a sporting goods store, a gas station, a bakery outlet, a discount store, and a beer store.

Nine bonus cards. And I'm not going to use them any more. Not at the gas station. Not at the grocery store. Not anywhere.

I'm sick of it all.

Here's an idea for retailers if you want my loyalty: Just give me the best price without having to weigh myself down with your bonus cards.

I look at shopping as a symbiotic relationship. I give retailers money. They give me products I want or need. They win. I win. Win-win. Once the places I shop at decide that they want me to swear my allegiance to them by filling out a form and carrying card, it's not really symbiotic any more. It's tilted in their favor.

Why would anyone want to do that? Take a win-win relationship and give more power to the other party?

Yeah, I know, many of you probably think I'm being silly here. I can hear the mental mumbling right now; “Gee, Leffler, what's the big deal? Just carry the card like everyone else.”

The big deal is I don't want to.

Quite a while ago I just stopped carrying my wallet. I keep my credit card and some cash in my front pocket. I keep my wallet in my car. If I really need something from my wallet, my car is never far from me.

The advent of my not carrying my wallet led to me never having my bonus card on me. And that led to me asking the cashier at any respective store if I could “borrow” their bonus card – you know, the one they keep at the register for people that forget their card.

I've never been told “no.” They – without thinking – grab the bonus card and swipe it. Or oftentimes, the person in line behind me will hand me their bonus card.

As such, I really don't know why I didn't swear off bonus cards a long time ago.

You might think that my concern is that I don't want the store to know what I'm buying. Some big brother complex. It's not that. I don't care who knows what I buy. Heck, I'm probably going to post it on Facebook anyway. I just hate the hassle.

There are some stores that tie your phone number to your bonus card, allowing you to just give your phone number instead of handing them your card. I like this concept. Since you're the only one who has your phone number, it makes it private, easy and convenient … as long as you're willing to say your phone number out loud.

What? The girl behind you is going to memorize your phone number and call you later? And that's bad? Okay, maybe it is for you, but for me … not necessarily.

I know this whole thing is kind of a tangent that won't likely get anywhere, but maybe someone from the executive offices of one of these stores will read it and realize that they're irritating their clientèle. Or at least they're irritating me. And an irritated Scott Leffler spends his money elsewhere.