The Rewards Club

May 16, 2011

The other day I went to a video game retailer to purchase a few games for my kids. (Note, I love my kids, and also appreciate the fact that they make great excuses for the purchase of video games.) The clerk told me how much I owed, and then asked “Are you a ‘Rewards Club’ member?” And my first thought was “Oh, Crap!! Here it comes.”

I told her that I was not a member of said club, and she then proceeded to explain to me how it was in my best interest to give her an extra $30, to save 10% off my current purchase, which totaled $45. $30 to save $4.50 didn’t seem like much of a bargain to me, and I began to have serious doubts as to the math skills and business acumen of the upcoming generation. After explaining my concern, she then told me that I would also be able to save 10% off of future purchases as well. Thinking she had me on the ropes, she then delivered her final blow which was that after I had made 10 purchases of $50 or more, I would get a free game as long as it was not valued at more than $20. Alas, much to her chagrin, I did not hit the mat to begin the 10 count.

I suppose out of principle, I felt that it was my duty to explain to her why her company’s Rewards Club was a load of garbage, and that the only “Reward” was the one she probably got for reeling in suckers. I started with this,

“Let’s see, if all I get for my $30 upfront payment is the ability to save 10%, then I would have to spend at least $300 before I broke even, right?” She nodded while nervously tapping the studded piercing in her tongue on her front teeth, and lightly tugging on the safety pin that was impaling her left eyebrow.

I continued, “Now, given that I purchase only “used games” at about $20 each, I would have to buy about 15 games to reach $300 in total purchases, and I don’t buy that many games.”

Not wanting to give up the fight, she defiantly responded “Well, you could buy more expensive games, or start playing more often.”

And then it hit me, she actually thinks I should have a vested interest in making sure I get my money’s worth for the Rewards Club. So I asked

“Whatever happened to the concept of providing a good product with good service at a reasonable price? I mean, I am the consumer here, and it’s MY ‘club’ that YOU should be trying to gain access to, not the other way around. You should be seeking the ‘reward’ of my business, and not make me pay for my savings in advance.”

At this point her “Supervisor” whose name was really Jack, but who went by the adopted name of “The Spider” because of his prowess at Warcraft, came over to assist.

“Is there a problem?” he asked.

To which I responded “No problem at all. I was explaining to Jessica here that the Rewards Club wasn’t a really good deal, and that I was declining her invitation to join.”

At this point I noticed that Jessica and “The Spider” wore matching “420” insignia bracelets. I just wanted to leave. They shared a quick look at one another, said something in Klingon, and swiped my credit card for my purchase.

After I got home, I started thinking about the Rewards Club. I ran it by my general rule of thumb, which is this: If it wouldn’t make sense in a relationship, it probably wouldn’t work as a general business model, either. And . . . well . . . I hate to say it, but I think they may be on to something. I can see it now:

“Honey, will you mow the lawn?”

“Sure, but let me ask you, are you a ‘Rewards Club’ member?”

“What’s that?”

“Oh, it’s a really great program. Here’s how it works. You have asked me to mow the lawn, which I will do. BUT, if you join the ‘Rewards Club’ we’ll go into the bedroom for a little bit before I get started. From then on, every time you ask me to do something, or every time I surprise you with something, you get a little star on your Club Card.”

“So, what do the stars get me?”

“Well, after you get 10 stars, we go back into the bedroom again. It’s WIN WIN!!”

It needs some tweaking, but I am sure it will be a hit . . . as long as you don’t have to whisper sweet nothings in Klingon.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: