Loyalty Cards
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Loyalty Cards

If you have one of these cards, you can enjoy lower prices and other perks ...

 
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Many supermarkets offer loyalty cards (also known as club cards or rewards cards) to their customers. If you have one of these cards, you can enjoy lower prices and other perks. Some stores automatically enter you in contests every time you use the card. Others use the loyalty card to keep track of how much money you've spent: when you reach a certain amount, you're rewarded with bonuses and freebies.

There's no doubt that the loyalty card can save you money. But why, you wonder, does a store give out these cards? Wouldn't it be easier - and more profitable - to have one set price for everything?

Loyalty cards actually help the supermarket make money. Even though the store's card holders are getting lower prices, the store still turns a nice profit just by encouraging you to have and use these things.

The card gets you, the savvy shopper, into the store. You know that the jar of pickles and the loaf of bread are each ten cents cheaper if you use the card, so you grab them at this store. But because you're already there, you go ahead and pick up other items: things that might not be cheaper with the card. In some cases, these other things - groceries, toiletries, et cetera - cost you more than if you buy them at the store up the street.

Even if these items are the same price as you would pay at another store, the supermarket whose card you hold is making the money. They're keeping you, a loyal shopper, in their store. They might "lose" ten cents on the jar of pickles, but they gain a lot more than that when you buy the rest of your groceries.

Some supermarkets also give you coupons at the cash register. The coupons vary depending on what you purchase during that trip. If you buy a certain microwaveable food item, you might receive a coupon for a discount on that item the next time you visit. This encourages you to use the card and to return to that supermarket the next time you're craving that food.

There are also supermarkets who offer you special deals based on how many units of a particular item you buy. Then you're offered a discount or a freebie. When you've purchased, say, four bags of the store-brand cereal, you might be offered a fifth bag for less (or for free). Supermarkets that use this loyalty program usually print your total on your receipt. That way, you can see that you've already bought three bags: just buy one more and you get that fifth one. This is a great way to encourage people to spend money.

The supermarket loyalty program is not necessarily a bad thing. You can in fact save quite a bit of money on groceries and other items if you know how the system works. Just remember that the supermarket gives you the card so that you'll give them more of your money. If you keep this in mind when you shop, you can avoid spending more than you really need - or want - to spend. (don)
 
 
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