Back when there was a President’s Choice bank, we had a PC debit card and with that we gained points at the No Frills and the Loblaws and I was OK with that. At the cashier, they would ask me if I had a PC Plus card and I would say, no I’m “non-plussed”. Then they separated the bank from the grocery chain. That was a few months ago. My new debit card no longer gave me points. For that I needed to sign up for a PC Plus card. Fine, I did that.
No longer did points magically appear on my account, no, no, no. Now I had to go to a website and download “offers” and then buy the stuff they wanted to sell me in order to gain points. I wasn’t so happy about that but I did it since I do most of the grocery shopping these days, since I stepped away from the work-a-day world.
Now, Loblaws has merged their PC Plus cards and their Shopper’s Drug Mart Optimum cards. Fine, who cares right? Yesterday at the No Frills, the cashier took away my almost new PC Plus Card and gave me a new PC Optimum Card. Fine. Reluctantly, I went on line yesterday to activate it. I had to try that 3 times during the day because their site couldn’t handle the volume of people with the new cards they insisted on issuing. They had a cute message saying, Oops, looks like lots of people are looking at us. OK, finally I activated my card last night before bed.
Today I dropped by my local No Frills to get some cat litter and other items which were not going to give me any valuable points. However it didn’t matter because when I handed my new card to the cashier she said oh no, no, no, you can’t use it today. The system is overwhelmed with all the new people using their cards. WTF? They insisted on giving me the stupid card. Now they aren’t accepting it because their system can’t handle the volume?
At least I can rest assured that the good folks at Loblaws are looking after my best interest with this whole scheme, right? What? What do you mean look at their track record? Bread price-fixing scandal. OK I’ll check that out. I see. Maybe the big grocers don’t have their customers’ interests at heart after all.
I wonder how much the loyalty points are worth to me in a year? In other words what would it cost me to cut up the card, only use cash and deny these characters any data? I know the big grocery stores are very data driven. I also know this would never happen but I wonder how it would affect their business if everybody went back to cash?