Remember loyalty cards?
You remember them, surely? If you used them at the Acme, you could get 10 cents off of a can of beans. At the Regal Theater, you got free popcorn. It was effortless, if not brainless. You didn't even have to bring the card with you; they could look up your phone number.
Well, those days are over. Loyalty cards now represent an educational opportunity. You have to use your brain--never an attractive option for me. Now you have to go to the website of the loyalty card--let's say it's Plenti--log on, get yourself a username and a password, and then--but I never got that far, so I never got anything out of my Plenti card.
I haven't given up hope. So today, I used my Plenti card at the gas station, and what do you know, the brain inside the pump asked me if I wanted to use the $12 I had on my Plenti card. Did I ever? I pressed yes, and proceeded to pump gas into the car. However, the receipt said I couldn't use the Plenti points to buy gas. But I got 8 more Plenti points.
Whole Foods also has a Rewards card. Yesterday the cashier at my local Whole Foods advised me to just spend an hour familiarizing myself with the card, but that's an hour I will never get back. Furthermore, I don't want to give Whole Foods my e-mail address and get lots of spam messages from the company offering me free range chickens. I don't want to sign up. I don't want an app on my iPhone. I want 10 cents off a can of beans or free popcorn without making a gigantic mental effort. Is that too much to ask?