comments 7

Grumpy Shopper

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?



  1. Miss Polly

    I participate in three programs. Shoppers, Starbucks and good ol’ Canadian Tire paper money. When they announced the merge of SDM with PC I called and exploded at some kid about it and told him that it was ridiculous for SDM to merge with PC when PC had this whole garbage about loading the offers. Shortly thereafter SDM started emailing offers. It makes me mental but I like SDM’s original system and I am reluctant to give up on it. What I fail to understand is why they couldn’t tell everyone months ago to start getting a new card for the switch over. I have this whole other funny but not funny story about when I called to complain to PC about reindeer cheese spreaders after Christmas but that’s for another time given I can’t even remember what my point was here… Lol

      • Miss Polly

        Lol. They were these cheese spreaders in nice velvet lined boxes at blah-blahs. There were two sets of four. The issue was that they didn’t have all the reindeer. Comet or Dasher or both ( I can’t remember ) were in each box. I can appreciate wanting to entice people to buy two sets but why not make all the reindeer! Shortly after Christmas I called to complain and a very young sounding guy told me something like “I’ll make the complaint but I don’t think it will make much difference since the Cracker issue is so bad” Not being able to help myself I asked what he meant. He then said that all the PC Christmas crackers had all been mistakenly filled with the same thing that year and people were calling and they couldn’t keep up with the complaints about how it had “ruined” their Christmas dinner. I politely told him to forget about my reindeer spreader issue. Lol.

        • It is strangely delightful that the cheese spreaders ticked you off enough to call. I can just imagine the person at the blah-blahs complaint desk fielding his 5th cheese spreader call of the day.

  2. Salvelinas Fontinalis

    The problem is that you might be comparing apples to kumquats. If they send you a special just for you offer on coffee you really arent saving anything if the following week the sale price is 20% cheaper than the special offer price. That would be pretty hard to track for you but not so hard to track for the store. The point of these programs is to get you into their store more often and to extract more money from you than they could without the program. If that works for them (and it does work for them) then you very likely are spending more than you would without the program.

    I will cheerfully give any store all the personal data they want but I charge $100 cash up front for it. So far no store has taken me up on my offer so I have zero loyalty cards and am pleased to admit that I am loyal to no store.

  3. I hate club cards with a passion. I refuse to use them . Don’t want someone tracking what I buy. Hadn’t even gotten to the Jump through hoops part of it . Cash in revolt I say. I used to say nothing is free or cheap if you have to eff a moose to get it

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