Do you ever use any customer loyalty cards, at restaurants or other businesses?
I’m usually not too involved with such cards, but I do keep a few around. When I visit a place, and see one, I’ll pick it up as long as I think there’s an opportunity to go back again.
Recently, I found what an old friend of mine liked to call an “arbitrage opportunity”. This story will be the 27th edition of the Squirreling Gone Wild series.
I found a place in the area which offered a customer loyalty card that awarded a free sandwich after 7 purchases. The place itself offered a quality, quick lunch, and was close enough to where I’ve been working. So, since I figured I’d go there again, I took the loyalty card that was offered to me.
As I took it, I was a bit preoccupied, so I didn’t really pay attention to what the guy behind the counter was saying about getting me “started” with stamp on the card. Later, when I looked at the card, I realized what he meant was that he was giving me a card with a stamp on it already and he followed up by adding a stamp for my purchase. So, that was 2 stamps for one visit, on the first visit. Nice. But, I didn’t think much about it after that.
The next visit, I was in line as he made that same offer to the customer ahead of me. I barely noticed, and wasn’t preoccupied with this loyalty card, but just remembered that I had the same experience. So, I remembered to pull out the loyalty card when I ordered.
First, he asked if I would like a loyalty card, and I said no thanks – I already had one. So, after I paid, he stamped the card.
As I was eating my sandwich, the thought entered my mind: had I not said anything, I would’ve gotten a new pre-stamped card plus another stamp for the purchase. That would have been 2 stamps for this transaction as well. Instead, I spoke up and said I already had a card, and got only one stamp out of this transaction.
For those of you keeping score at home, that’s 2 visits and 3 stamps thus far.
After I figured this out, I made a few more visits. The next time, I walked in and made sure I stood in line with the same guy there. Fortunately, he was working. Not sure if he even recognized me, but he again asked me if I wanted a loyalty card.
This time, I said “Yes”. I repeated that same thing the next time I was in as well. He never asked me I had a card, just if I wanted a loyalty card.
At this point, after those four visits, I was ready to try out my plan. I walked in, and didn’t see that same guy there. No worries, let’s give this a try.
So, I ordered my lunch, and wasn’t even asked about the lunch card. No big deal, as I didn’t care. Rather, I pulled out the 3 cards that I had collected. Remember:
- Card #1 = 3 stamps from Visits 1 and 2.
- Card #2 = 2 stamps from Visit 3
- Card #3 = 2 stamps from visit 4
Total stamps: 7. This is what was needed for a free lunch. Unfortunately, the stamps were on different cards.
Never mind that. I asked the lady if I could combine the 3 separate cards since there were 7 stamps in total.
She paused, thought about it, and said “yeah, sure”. And just like that, my sandwich was free!
Normally, 7 visits equaled 7 stamps. That’s what it should have taken to get the free sandwich.
With the stamp-happy guy, it would have been 6 visits for the 7 stamps. 2 stamps the first visit, one for each subsequent visit.
With the plan I hatched, it turned out to be 4 visits for 7 stamps.
Net result: 2 fewer visits for a sandwich. All due to some creative thinking.
OK, OK. This isn’t a big accomplishment. In fact, I probably didn’t act my age in this one instance, and was perhaps scheming like a broke college kid here:) I know that. Maybe it’s even along the lines of the guy I know who used delight in saving pennies at the gas station.
It’s all good though, and in fun. The bottom line is, it’s just the thrill of using your brain to creatively think of ways to save, while simply asking for the discount. It’s fun! Again, it never hurts to ask.
My Questions for You:
Do you ever think of creative ways to save, such as the plan above.
Do you ever get a thrill out of small savings opportunities, even if minor such as this example?