Thursday, August 16, 2012

One reason people love Trader Joe's is, they don't do this

The other day, I went into a Price Chopper grocery store. I got to the cashier (I chose the 'express lane' because I only had a few items) and she asked me, "Do you have a Price Chopper card?"

These card scams drive me crazy. They might have worked for retailers when they were a new idea. I guess the first grocery store in any market that instituted a card might have actually got some 'loyalty' as a result. But nowadays virtually every store seems to do it, and most shoppers have responded by filling their wallets and purses with dozens of cards. As soon as everyone has every card, the cards stop encouraging loyalty; they just clutter up our lives and invade our privacy, as retailers keep track of our every purchase.

The cards are disingenuous in other ways, too. The big price on store shelves is always the 'card' price, so the poor sap that shops without a card actually sees a low price and pays a high one. And I am sure I'm not the only person who's infuriated by the idiotic "You saved twelve dollars and 88 cents," claim as I'm handed my receipt. Why not price a gallon of milk at $400,000, or $3.82 with a card, and tell me I saved $399,996.18? That would be really impressive.

One of the ways Trader Joe's has built up its loyal customer base (and, by the way, Trader Joe's is an order of magnitude more profitable than Price Chopper as a result) is by not insulting its customers' intelligence by offering them a 'rewards card'.

Normally, I try to avoid stores that operate this scam. But if I have to shop at one, this is what I do: When they ask me if I've got a card, I tell them no, but I'd like to get one. I carefully fill out the form using a made-up name and address, heedless of anyone waiting in line to use that cash register. Then I get a new card and my 'discount'. Then, as I'm leaving the store, I throw the card away.

Yes, I make them give me a new card every time I shop there.

So Price Chopper gave me my 88 cents off, and slowed throughput at their cash registers, and paid for the card, and will scan and store the fictitious customer data I provide. Call it passive resistance to this infuriating marketing scam. It's the equivalent of using the self-addressed envelope that comes with a credit card solicitation to return the solicitation materials to the sender.

1 comment:

  1. I don't understand. How is saving money infuriating. It has to be better than constantly thro