Results 1 to 21 of 21

Thread: I really hate retailer affinity programs

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Sharon, MA
    Posts
    17,239

    Default I really hate retailer affinity programs

    Well, not ALL of them... just MOST of them.

    If I joined every affinity program for every retailer that I shop at.. either frequently, or not... my key ring would be so loaded with bar-code tags as to be impossible to put in my pocket... my wallet would be three inches thick with all the membership cards... and my email would contain 100's of solicitations from those retailers, every single day.

    Furthermore, many of those affinity programs are useless, or nearly so.

    Consider CVS: I only shop at CVS occasionally... for prescriptions, and on few occasions, items that I don't pick up while normally shopping in a supermarket. Their affinity program produces just one thing: a receipt that can be 30 inches long... containing coupons for items I either don't use, or buy only very rarely... and even then, the coupons are 'short-dated', in an attempt to get me back in the store far more often than I would normally go. Occasionally, there is a $5 off coupon... also short-dated, and with so many items excluded, that it almost never seems worthwhile.

    Staples: I don't shop there often.. maybe 3-4 times a year, for a ream of printer paper, some pens, maybe an ink cartridge. In years, I have NEVER seen any benefit, whatsoever, to carrying around their bar-code tag or membership card.

    Best Buy: same story. I have never seen any benefit from their affinity program.. I don't have a clue as to how one could take advantage of it.

    Amazon: I buy a lot from Amazon... but they severely clog my in-box with email pitches... it's very annoying.

    Some companies are so determined to hook a customer into their affinity program, it constitutes customer abuse. While checking out, at IKEA, once, the cashier asked me if I wanted to sign up for their program. I told him no. He repeated the pitch... and I told him no again. He wouldn't stop... now he was implying that I must be some sort of idiot for not agreeing to sign up for the program... at that point, I was angry, and asked him to call his supervisor. He actually refused... so I went to the cashier next to him and asked for a supervisor... and when she arrived, gave her a piece of my mind about this kind of abuse. Whether it did any good, I don't know.

    This sort of thing happens at MANY retailers... because, i suspect, the cashier is given some sort of incentive for signing up additional customers.

    Not all affinity programs are bad... there are two that I use every single day. One of them is the Dunkin' Donuts app, on my phone.... I'm there at least once a day, for coffee, and most days, a second time, for some iced tea in the afternoon. Their program is a 'deposit' program; I authorize them to charge my credit card for a specified amount, and when the balance gets low, they charge my card again. The benefit is clear; I don't have to handle cash or deal with change, I just flash my phone at them... and every $50 or so, I get a special barcode for a free cup of coffee. In this case, it's an affinity program that is non-intrusive, an actual benefit, and provides a reasonably decent incentive (it amounts to about a 2% incentive, when you factor in the cost of the free cup of coffee).

    Another that I use is the Cumberland Farms app. Cumberland Farms is a northeast chain of gas station / convenience stores, which happens to own Gulf Oil. This one, unlike the Dunkin' Donuts app, is a checking-account-based program. When you sign up, you give them your bank routing number and bank account number... they run a 'test' charge to verify it, which is credited back. When making a purchase, you simply flash them the bar-code on the app. When buying gas, it's all done via wi-fi, and you get a 10 cent discount per gallon. Once again, it relieves the customer from having to handle cash... and it provides a pretty reasonable incentive.

    I occasionally shop for clothing at Kohl's. They used to annoy me with a pitch for signing up for their affinity program, which was always annoying... but most recently, they seem to have stopped doing that, and handing out a 20% off coupon instead. Admittedly, the coupon is short-dated, but it's a pretty significant bonus, regardless.

    Frankly, I'd prefer to skip ALL affinity programs; the secret to getting me to shop frequently in any store is pretty simple.... offer quality products at good prices, with good customer service. That's all it takes.
    "Fact is that which enough people believe. Truth is determined by how fervently they believe it."
    --- Charles Pierce







  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Deepest Darkest Wales
    Posts
    18,438

    Default Re: I really hate retailer affinity programs

    These programs are designed to benefit to store, not the customer.
    Someday, I'm going to settle down and be a grumpy old man.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Sharon, MA
    Posts
    17,239

    Default Re: I really hate retailer affinity programs

    Quote Originally Posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt View Post
    These programs are designed to benefit to store, not the customer.
    Well, duhhhh!

    It's fair to say that there are SOME which benefit both, like the DD and Cumberland programs. I don't mind helping a retailer prosper, if there's something in it, for me!
    "Fact is that which enough people believe. Truth is determined by how fervently they believe it."
    --- Charles Pierce







  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Kingsville, Ontario
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: I really hate retailer affinity programs

    What do you consider good customer service?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    victoria, australia. (1 address now)
    Posts
    44,831

    Default Re: I really hate retailer affinity programs

    Know the product, process the sale, keep out of the way.

    But some retailers, like banks, mandate certain targets for their sales staff, sometimes on pain of dismissal.
    You don't need the supervisor, you need the manager, or maybe even the group chair person to give a piece of your mind to.
    Good luck with that.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    East Quogue,NY
    Posts
    13,624

    Default Re: I really hate retailer affinity programs

    I belong to the supermarket one, " Stop N Shop." With it, I get food cheaper than without it, but on top of that I get a discount at Shell gas stations. I usually let it build up: right now I am at 70-cents off per gallon. There's a 100 gallon limit, so I use it for my powerboat.

    I also like the one for Speedway convenience stores. I get a free coffee--which I am in there buying anyway- about every other week. And they have frequent loyalty specials.Last week was 20-cents off per gallon of fuel.

    Finally, the one for Regal Cinemas. They own many theatres around here and, with a 10 year old and 13 year old, we go to the movies a lot. We always at least get a free popcorn ( which we would buy anyway) and a free ticket about twice per year.

    Yes, I get a lot of emails from these places. But I can hit, "delete," quiicker than I can make a buck.

    Kevin

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Sharon, MA
    Posts
    17,239

    Default Re: I really hate retailer affinity programs

    Quote Originally Posted by L.A Marche View Post
    What do you consider good customer service?
    I think it ought to be obvious: make it easy for the customer to shop... don't badger or try to up-sell the customer... respond quickly and completely to issues and complaints... make sure the sales personnel know thew products well enough to answer nearly any question... and so on.

    There's loads of bad customer service these days. About a month ago, I stopped into a Dunkin' Donuts on a Saturday, after my granddaughter's soccer game. I stood at the ordering counter, waiting for someone to help me... and watched as three employees, all of whom looked like high schoolers in a part time job, were standing around and engaged in social conversation... not one of them bothered to look up. Another employee, wearing a manager's name badge, was not far away... but she wasn't paying any attention, either.

    I was finally provided service... but instead of speaking to the manager about it, I sent an email to telldunkin@yahoo.com. My reasoning: the manager was at fault, and the report needed to go to a higher level. I think it's not unreasonable to expect that high schoolers working their first jobs would require supervision.... but that's the manager's job, so it was really HER fault... the high schoolers simply weren't being managed.

    I did eventually get what I presumed to be a standard form letter from Dunkin' Donuts, apologizing... although whether they did anything about it, is unknown.
    "Fact is that which enough people believe. Truth is determined by how fervently they believe it."
    --- Charles Pierce







  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Sharon, MA
    Posts
    17,239

    Default Re: I really hate retailer affinity programs

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    I belong to the supermarket one, " Stop N Shop." With it, I get food cheaper than without it...
    At my local Stop n' Shop, if you don't have the affinity tag, the checker will enter a generic one, and you get the same discount.
    "Fact is that which enough people believe. Truth is determined by how fervently they believe it."
    --- Charles Pierce







  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Too far inland.
    Posts
    7,677

    Default Re: I really hate retailer affinity programs

    The one program I use quite a bit is the "contractor's card" at Lowe's. I established the account when I needed to buy $5k worth of decking a few years ago, but it's been worthwhile ever since.

    The one place that I actually wish had such a system, whole foods, doesn't. I hope that the Amazon takeover does something with that.

    I have zero qualms about spam-filtering the emails associated with these things. If I want to hunt for a deal I can always search the spam folder for that vendor.
    A boatless inlander, searching for the meaning of life-aground.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Too far inland.
    Posts
    7,677

    Default Re: I really hate retailer affinity programs

    Quote Originally Posted by Norman Bernstein View Post
    At my local Stop n' Shop, if you don't have the affinity tag, the checker will enter a generic one, and you get the same discount.
    Norman, it's not a generic tag, it's the cashier's personal tag. They're happily taking the gas points.
    (I don't object to this at all)
    A boatless inlander, searching for the meaning of life-aground.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    South Australia and Tasmania
    Posts
    12,040

    Default Re: I really hate retailer affinity programs

    Set up a junk email account for these things. Or tag affinity emails as junk so you never have to see them. But generally, just avoid the programs.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Lodi, CA
    Posts
    132

    Default Re: I really hate retailer affinity programs

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    Set up a junk email account for these things. Or tag affinity emails as junk so you never have to see them. But generally, just avoid the programs.
    I actually have my own .com (example.com for these purposes, which has no real website attached). I use it just for email. If you send an email to xxx@example.com where "xxx" could be anything, it will get sent to me. Whenever I join an affinity program, I list my email as thebusinessname@example.com where "thebusinessname" is the actual name of the business. This does a couple things for me. I can easily block any emails sent to that address if they become obnoxious. If the business ever sells my email address to someone else, I know exactly which business did the dastardly deed. Believe me, those situations would trigger a very angry response, and I would be likely to boycott both the seller and purchaser of that email address.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Norwich,United Kingdom
    Posts
    4,858

    Default Re: I really hate retailer affinity programs

    I really resent the time I have lost standing at a checkout while somebody gets their affinity card updated.Consequently I have none of them and give my fellow shoppers the gift of time.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    28,541

    Default Re: I really hate retailer affinity programs

    Don't subscribe to any affinity programs and don't offer any to our customers. I increasingly pay for items using my phone and apple pay. When they ask me if I have a phone number I go NO, Do I want to subscribe to some affinity card NO. Do I want to donate to .... I go NO NO NO Swipe my phone it goes ding I hit my debit code and Say no receipt, thank you - OUT THE DOOR

    The shoppers behind me are amazed and happy that I'm so fast.
    This post is temporary and my disappear at the discretion of the managment

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Fairfield, CA
    Posts
    1,120

    Default Re: I really hate retailer affinity programs

    I hate the idea of leaching all my data, but the discounts at both our local groceries are significant so I've joined. For both, the loyalty number is my old phone number so no cards to carry. I went to the loyalty websites and opted out of the promo emails, so far that's working.
    BTW, never use realtor.com to help find a house for your mother-in-law. The avalanche of spam right after signing up was astounding, and I had to opt out of each.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Kitty Hawk, NC
    Posts
    5,816

    Default Re: I really hate retailer affinity programs

    I have an electronic card at the theatre. We go about once a week. We get discounts on food. I always have a malt. We get free tickets frequently.

    I have one at the building supplies store. It usually pays for my gas for the round trip there.

    I get some gas credit at a grocery store.

    I don't mind the additional email.

    s
    Life is complex.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    East Quogue,NY
    Posts
    13,624

    Default Re: I really hate retailer affinity programs

    Norman, it's not a generic tag, it's the cashier's personal tag. They're happily taking the gas points.
    (I don't object to this at all)
    Exactly, the gas points are a GOOD THING. I could live without them, but why should I? At about $170/ week in groceries, I rack 'em up pretty quick.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    5,399

    Default Re: I really hate retailer affinity programs

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Exactly, the gas points are a GOOD THING. I could live without them, but why should I? At about $170/ week in groceries, I rack 'em up pretty quick.

    Kevin
    My thoughts too. I have no trouble having the local supermarket watch what I buy for a significant discount in the grocery bill
    Elect a clown expect a circus

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Southampton Ont. Canada
    Posts
    5,753

    Default Re: I really hate retailer affinity programs

    I have a card from my local independent full serve discount gas station.
    It's paper with rubber stamps and the cashier's initials on it.
    5 stamps( 1 per minimum 25 litre gas purchase)= 5 cent/litre discount.
    For my truck, a "fill" is over 100 litre, so if I was more cunning,I would get 4 small fills of 25 litres,to fill the card ,then a discount fill of 100 litre.
    no email bs or pushy sales aholes,just cheaper gas
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    FL. USA
    Posts
    6,664

    Default Re: I really hate retailer affinity programs

    I'm not a fan of the programs either. At our grocery store, it's to tell you how much you "saved" on items "with card," that are inflated to start with. I got into a 'discussion' with the store manager asking why I could not just get charged for what the products actually cost instead of this redundant nutshell game being I have shopped there for 30 years anyway. It's because they get money for tracking and advertising to you. It's a way to get to you thru your email like everyone else.

    What really screws with their heads, like Advance Auto Parts or Home Depot, is when they ask you for your phone# and you tell them you don't have one. The cashier does not know what to do, insisting they need one for the warranty. No, you really don't need my phone or my email. All I should need is the receipt. Whenever I have returned something, you asked for the receipt. You didn't call me or email me to congratulate me on my return, and it did not save me any physical steps with the process. It's just a scam to wire me in for yet more advertising.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Northern NSW Australia
    Posts
    63,684

    Default Re: I really hate retailer affinity programs

    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •