Store cards, sometimes called Customer Appreciation Cards or Loyalty Cards or Club Cards or Reward Zone Cards, are really just a device for identifying the degree to which the customer is inadequate. By the time I have chosen the store, the product, and the checkout line, I am pretty much committed to my purchase when the clerk asks “Do you have a [store] card?” The answer, of course, is “No” because once again I have forgotten it, and now I am once again kicking myself for being so forgetful.
I have tried several different techniques for overcoming this problem. I have tried carrying all my cards with me, but there are too many for the slots in the card section of my purse, so that doesn’t work. I have reduced the cards in that location to a credit card, a debit card, my health care card, my social insurance number, my driver’s licence, my vehicle insurance, my vehicle registration, the automobile association card, my regular grocery store card, and the coffee shop card. You know–the essentials.
In addition to those I have cards for specific stores that I shop at fairly often but not all the time. There are fourteen of those at the moment, as well as three airline “miles” cards that never actually buy me any air miles. I thought I could leave them at home and make a point of taking them with me when I went to those stores, but that was a miserable failure. It turns out I don’t always know when I’m going to be shopping at any of them, and the need for them only occurs once I’m out and about. I think “Oh, while I’m in this neighbourhood I’ll just drop in at Store X and get Y,” and I don’t think about the card until I’m actually at the cash register.
So, I thought I’d try putting all these cards in a bundle, bound together with a rubber band, and keep them in the bottom of my purse. The problem with that is it means I have to take out the bundle and rummage through the cards while in the store. Again, this is usually at the checkout. I say things like “I know I’ve got your card here somewhere…” while the cashier pretends to be unmoved by the fact that I’m wasting her or his time and that of all the other people in line behind me.
Sometimes, when can’t find the card, they ask for my phone number instead. Oh great. Something else for me to fail at because I can’t always remember my number correctly. In my own defense, I do have four phone numbers (two in Canada and two in the US) so it’s not that I’m completely hopeless. Well, maybe it is, but I’m hopeless for a good reason. By this time, I really don’t care if I get the points or miles or discounts or whatever the card promises. I just want to get out of there.
I have reached the point where instead of asking for my card or my phone number, I wish that these people would just take a retinal scan or my fingerprints. Really. I’m totally OK with that. I’d even provide a sample of my DNA if that would help, but please stop asking me if I have your card. I do, but I have no idea where it is. Please just swab the inside of my mouth and let me be on my way.