I was steadfast, determined not budging an inch. My usual, easy-going attitude nowhere to be found.
I began to shake, the perspiration beading on my forehead.
I could feel the gaze of fourteen eyes burning into the back of my skull. I lifted my gaze, the queue was growing in size and frustration.
Frustration with me!
I would usually have stepped aside well before this, but today I was not myself.
The trigger was pulled two days earlier, when a supermarket loyalty program offered extra discounts on petrol when spending a minimum amount that weekend.
Recently, and without realising, I had adopted and was harbouring a monster, a loyalty program monster. It sprang into action immediately and we hatched a plan to stock up on supplies, I may eventually need, in order to get this discount.
Sunday was the last day of the offer. A wet, wintry day you would never go out in unless completely necessary. Gale force winds, along with horizontal rain were not enough to deter this savvy shopper, and her monster, we wanted our reward.
Little Miss 8, who had been my shadow since returning from camp, braved the elements with me. We cruised the aisles, filling the trolley all the while justifying my purchases.
We arrived at the checkout and all was going to plan. I pulled out my purse, my moment of glory approaching, I was ready to thrust forward that rewards card and be bestowed the gift of fuel discounts.
Mini panic……..The card was not where I usually keep it.
Escalating panic……. as I checked behind all of the other cards I carry.
FULL BLOWN PANIC……..it was nowhere to be found.
How big can my purse be.
The polite gentleman, serving me, rapidly became less polite and increasingly agitated, along with the now, not smiling, queue of people behind me.
I was now completely catastrophising, sweaty, breathless and flushed.
My final, dramatic, last ditched attempt at locating the card had me upend my entire purse contents, all over the counter,
IT MUST BE HERE SOMEWHERE!!!!!!!!
The longer I refused to pay and leave, the larger the queue and the more hostile they became. I nervously smiled at everyone hoping for a brief nod of understanding. The menacing glares I received signalled time to move on, time to give up.
I promptly paid, gathered my mess and relocated the trolley to one side. I was desperate for one last attempt to salvage the trip.
My beautiful daughter, following along, looked up and poetically said, “Mum it’s okay at least we got the food”.
Hot tears welled in my eyes. What was I doing????
That was when I realised my rewards were no longer a reward. They were governing my behaviour and this was not behaviour to be proud of.
After a deep breath, or ten, we headed for the car. Me to begin to identify my rewards monster and how he got off his leash, and Phoenix to the sanctuary of home.
The question had to be asked….. Are the rewards and loyalty schemes I use working for me or am I working for them?
Today I sit staring at the extraordinary collection of rewards cards I hold. Wistfully remembering the days when I had to be reminded to present my rewards card and was often surprised to collect a voucher or a free smoothie. These were the true reward days for me. Days when I was rewarded for loyally buying products I believed in, when I needed them and from stores I enjoyed visiting. A time when my spending habits were not altered by crazy schemes and gimmicks.
Today I am deciding which programs to keep up with. The ones that align with my shopping style, and also work to reward me for loyal shopping behaviour and which programs to leave, the ones that have me now working for them.
Bye, Bye Monster I am back in charge.
Warning signs a rewards and loyalty program is not effective for you…
You buy products you do not need and would not traditionally buy
You shop at inconvenient locations
You shop at inopportune times
You buy in bulk purely for the rewards, not because your family uses a lot of one product
You spend money just to get the rewards…….$8 fashion magazines at the service station to get $2.40 extra off petrol is not a reward
Do you use rewards and loyalty programs? Do they influence your shopping decisions?