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Bonus Cards

2001-01-29 14:50:03+00 by Larry Burton 14 comments

The only new years resolutions that I make any more deal with simplifying my life. This year I thought I would get rid of a literal pain in the ass by cleaning out my billfold, paring it down to the bare essentials and go with a front pocket wallet. I don't want to sit on any more credit cards and stacks of grocery store receipts. I was doing pretty good, I had my drivers license, a key card to one of my customers plants, one credit card, one ATM/debit card, my fishing license and a couple of insurance cards. All this fit nicely into a Fossil® front pocket wallet. Then I went to the local Food Lion. "Do you have your MVP Card?", the clerk asked. What? I've got to carry another card in my pocket to get all the good prices. Not only are these things a contributor to the pain in the ass I had finally gotten rid of they are also an assault on my privacy. Fear not, Rob's Giant BonusCard Swap Meet comes to the rescue. This only works with the mid-Atlantic's Giant Food Store chain but I'm sure other sites won't be far behind.

[ related topics: Privacy ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:02+00 by: ebradway

Bi-Lo occassionally sends out 5% off certificates to Bonus Card users. Maybe if we pooled our Bonus cards (like everyone on CHIA use the same card) we'd get even better discounts. I pretty much only shop at Bi-Lo because I find it more of a hassle to try to find things in more than one grocery store. Of course, I buy meat and fish at Greenlife but everything else there is too pricey. I'm not sure what's going to happen once I get to Boston and start living the real urban life. When I was on McCallie I had to at least tell the baggers to double bag and bag heavy to minimize trips up the stairs. In Boston I'll probably have to limit grocery trips to what will fit in two or three bags. But I'm sure I will also do more grocery shopping in boutique style shops - maybe even hit the fisheries directly for fresh-caught seafood. I'll be completely off Bi-Lo's marketting radar by then!

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:02+00 by: vees

I do want to add more cards to this system, but I don't know about the card styles or pin numbers of any other regional supermarkets. Send me the name of a supermarket and scan or digital photo of the card and the pin number and I'll set up a system for those kinds of cards.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:02+00 by: Larry Burton

Look for several from me over the next day or so. These things have gotten to be a major headache to me. The problem is that you can save so much money by using them that its hard not to. I've found that other people in line are often more than willing to loan you theirs when you don't have one for that particular store and I've gotten to trading with people while I've waited in line. If there is anyway I can get the stores to decide that these BonusCards aren't working and to get rid of them I'll do it.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:02+00 by: Dori

The Safeway near me will take either my card *or* let me enter my home phone number. If you have a Safeway near you with the same plan, send me private email and I'll send you my home # for you to use. Full disclosure: If you use my home #, I'll also get (a small number of) United frequent flyer miles based on your purchases. Dori
Backup Brain

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:02+00 by: TheSHAD0W

I usually shop at my local Wal Mart; it's the only supermarket-type store in my area that's open at oh-dark-thirty when I prefer to shop. (It's nice not having to fight through crowds of people.) But recently I went to get some groceries at Furrs, which is a bit nearer and stocks a couple of things Wal Mart doesn't have. When I got to the register I of course didn't have a discount card, and admitted so. "Would you like to use mine?" The lady who'd been through the register in front of me was happy to present her own card; she knew she'd get extra discounts in the future because of it. The cashier didn't mind at all. When everything was rung up and I'd charged the bill to my credit card, I was handed two fairly large discount coupons, freshly printed by the register. They had expiration dates in two weeks, and I knew I probably wouldn't be back for months. So I handed the coupons to the lady behind me. The moral of the story? I'm not sure... But I doubt I'll ever sign up for one of those club cards.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:02+00 by: topspin

CVS, my employer, is starting the same thing. It's all about consumer trend info, I'm sure, while the hassle for the working schmoo increases geometrically because our ads will feature the "price with card." Those without the card will whine and moan and argue that the price rung up wasn't what was in the ad. Ugh!! 3 solutions come to mind:
Printing all my barcodes on mailing label stock, labeling them, sticking them to one flat card, and covering it with clear packing tape. A generic sectioned "blank insert card" could allow stores to generate and give out "barcode inserts." Less cost to the store, less cards for me. Discounts when I use an ATM or VISA. Let banks/CCarders offer me a choice of what places I want to "sign up" as being a "preferred buyer" or whatever. If I shop with a CCard/ATM and I've signed up.... I get the discount and the merchant gets gets some info about me. If I'm not signed up, no info is released to the merchant and no discount. Automatic.... no extra card.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:02+00 by: Dan Lyke

One of Todd and my business ventures this last year that didn't work out was an attempt to at least consolidate all those cards into one. Alas, the guy we got to be the "sell it" guy seemed to be talking a good line and not really moving us into anything. Besides which, merchants seemed reluctant to share. Oh well.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:02+00 by: Larry Burton

I still like the swap meet idea. Let's just trade our cards with someone else after using them for a while, unless you are after the bonus miles or extra discounts the cards may offer. But, then I lie to pollsters and give the phone number to a time and weather recording when asked for my phone number for demographic purposes. BTW, that number is (423) 265-1411 if any one needs a handy throw away number.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:02+00 by: ebradway

On the free miles thing, get a job as a parking valet and replace the barcode on people's bonus cards with your own. You'll really start racking up the miles!

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:02+00 by: Larry Burton

It just occurred to me that Topspin is really on to something with tying the transaction to the ATM/debit/credit card. The merchant only requires that you register your ATM/debit/credit card with them using the same information that they would ask for to get their discount card. After that any transaction made with the ATM/debit/credit card could be associated automatically with the registration data. This would prevent the swapping of discount cards by the consumer. I can also see Visa/MC getting involved in a promotion like this. Gee, this could get scary for those folks with serious privacy concerns.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:03+00 by: Dan Lyke

That's what eScrip is doing. They've got the tie in with the local schools "for the chiiildrun" angle, so you know they've got to be pure in heart.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:03+00 by: TheSHAD0W

Oh yeah... Another story for you, from some years back... This one supermarket refused to sell me anything UNLESS I signed up for one of those cards. I was rather irate, but eventually I caved in. To this day I wonder if they're still sending junk mail to an address on Via Merde de Caballo in Las Cruces, NM...

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:31:03+00 by: Larry Burton

Radio Shack has gotten about that bad. I had to pick up something from them a few months ago that I paid cash for. The clerk asked for my name and address and I informed him that since it was a cash transaction I didn't see a need for that. "Well, the home office tells us we have to collect this stuff so I need your name and address," he said. "Paiden Cash," I told him. He started to argue with me and then you could see him thinking better so he took my money, I took my merchandise and reciept, made out to Paiden Cash of 123 Main Street, and left. Little wonder that Radio Shack was a distribution point for the CueCat.

#Comment made: 2002-09-12 10:43:54+00 by: Paul

Is there anywhere that I can find a list of these Bonus Card numbers from various stores around the country?