Yes, Loyalty Cards Save You Money; that, as you might guess, makes the case for store loyalty cards being a great thing.
The author, Stephanie Nelson, brushes aside any privacy considerations, saying basically that since you buy your groceries in plain view, what's the problem with the store keeping track of what you buy? She says "Supermarkets do not share their databases with other parties without permission," a statement I take some exception to, because generally your information can be shared unless you expressly state that it can't, so I'd be surprised if grocery store chains weren't sharing their information. Sounds like a major profit center to me; I wish she would've backed up this statement a bit more.
Anyway, even if you put privacy concerns to the side and think it's nice to have a coupon for a free can of Fancy Feast spit out of the machine when you buy some cat food, my problem with the store loyalty card is something different.
As far as I'm concerned, grocery stores force you to sign up for store loyalty cards and carry them with you, and they give you the same savings they used to give you without the cards.
For example, the spaghetti sauce that is 79 cents off with store loyalty card used to just be "on sale." There is no "on sale" anymore if you don't have that stupid card in your hand. And if you forget that card, you are being penalized, because what used to be "on sale" is now "on sale" only to those with the card, so you actually pay a premium for those items if you don't have a card or if you forget yours.
In reality, calling them loyalty cards is a joke, because I don't have any more loyalty to one store because of them. It's not like I'm getting a free set of dinnerware for every $1000 I spend, for the "loyalty" I'm showing to the store. No. No extras for me giving my loyalty.
In fact, the only point of the card is to hold me hostage, in the sense that I don't get the "savings" unless I'm willing to let them track my every purchase and willing to take on the extra hassle of carrying the card on my keychain or shoving it into my overflowing wallet. And, since every supermarket now has the same stupid card program, you can't escape them by showing your loyalty to a store that would actually deserve it by not forcing you to carry a card — they no longer exist.
Attention grocers: get rid of the cards and just put stuff "on sale" again. Then you'll get my loyalty.
By: Justin McHenry Source