I recently a received a bonus point reward card
in the mail and it got me thinking about one of my favorite movies, Jurassic Park.
Let’s see if I can explain what I mean…
The following is a dramatic interpretation of my experiences with bonus/reward points programs.
Me– Hello, I would like to buy that thing over there.
Business — Great! And you get reward points!
Me– Wonderful! Let’s use them for the purchase.
Business–(Laughs a little) Oh, no! You can’t use them now. I’m going to give them to you, but it will be later, pretty much when I decide, because I am never going to tell you how often you receive them and I am going to be very vague about how many points you will receive. But rest assured it will be way, way less than you spend.
Me– Um, okay. Well, can I at least use them on items I need?
Business — Actually…no, you can’t. There will be a lot of exclusions because I really need you to pay full price for a lot of stuff, so they will only work on the items you don’t really need or want, but you are still going to buy those items because you are going to use your points!
Me– Um, okay, well at least those points will be easy to use, right?
Business–(Laughs harder now) Not really! I am going to set up a system where you have to do most of the work in keeping track of these points. So, I will either give you a punch card or ask you to carry around a receipt for over a month or something similar which will add to the stress of your already over-stressed life. And please remember, if you lose those things you are screwed and I will not be able to look them up for you despite the fact I have all of your personal data such as phone number, email, social security number, blood type and zodiac sign keyed into my system.
Me– Well, um, okay. Will you be sending me something in the mail to remind me I have the points?
Business– That’s right! But only after you haven’t been in the store for a while then you will hit a list and we will send you a dinky amount which won’t equal anything in the store, so you will have to spend more than the reward card anyway. Have a nice day!
Which leads me back to the card I got in the mail the other day.
The front of the envelope(which I am not showing on purpose!) had a snappy little message on it…
“You’re good at this. Here’s proof!”
I’m good at what exactly…..?
Spending money? Buying items I really don’t need? Shopping in general?
Who is judging this contest anyway, because I think we can all agree I have made some very questionable purchases in my time–anyone remember those leggings?
And the proof?
The proof seems to be a discount card which I can’t use on sale items, can’t use on certain brands and the total amount I can use is roughly 1/8 of what one item in the store costs.
Which brings my thoughts back to Jurassic Park…
Just because I can get a bonus/reward card — should I use it?
Isn’t that just reinforcing the theory that decisions based on what I could do instead of what I should do usually end up causing disasters?
Doesn’t that just lead to dinosaurs running amok…?
Yes! Yes, it ALWAYS does!