Earlier today I had to sift through the contents of my purse to get my driver’s license. The purse is pretty small, but like many women, it’s full of stuff.
One thing that stuck out today was the many ‘reward’ cards in my possession. In my purse, I just keep the mini-versions, which I’ve cleverly placed on a key ring so they are easy to find when I’m out and about. There are also a couple that I have stashed in my wallet.
Altogether, I have forty cards (not including my now defunct Blockbuster Video Card), all of which offer me all kinds of deals and incentives as long as I come in their store to shop. There are three pet store cards, five grocery store cards, two drugstore cards, sixteen retail store cards, three of which are specific just to kid’s stuff, two gas station cards, six frequent traveler cards, five restaurant or food related cards and my AARP card. Seems like a lot of cards for someone who claims not to shop much.
In my defense, a lot of these cards were used only once because I was lured in by, “Would you like to sign up for our rewards program?” Who wouldn’t want to get rewarded every time they shop?! A lot of my cards haven’t been fully ‘activated’ because I am supposed to go online and register so I can get even more rewards – translation: give my email address so I can get bombarded with special offers in my inbox every day.
The truth is that I really see very few rewards from these programs. If I shop at a particular grocery store I do get special pricing for having their card. Other than that, I’m aware that the card is really just a way to get me to buy more. Because if I buy those twelve loaves of bread or those ten entrees, I’m going to get a free one! Or I can make twelve ten dollar purchases to get a ten dollar store gift card! Those things might actually happen. My least favorite rewards are the ones that work on a point system. It doesn’t seem to matter how many points I have, I rarely find anything in the list of items available for redemption that I would like to have. My favorite rewards come from Panera Bread, who gives me a special treat on my birthday. It’s nice to be rewarded just for being born!
There doesn’t seem to be a place for these cards in the simple, minimalist life I desire. The prospect of saving a few dollars seems foolish when weighed against the time I spend deleting their email offers and carrying their cards around in my purse. At the end of the day, it’s just more stuff filling up my life.
My purse is a little bit lighter tonight. Now I just need to figure out some way to repurpose all those plastic cards . . .