Monday, April 12, 2010

Shop Special Sale Club Now!

The club referenced in my title is the members only shopping club by which customers obtain special pricing in stores. It's a fact that nearly every store in which I shop regularly has a special membership club. If you sign up (it'll just take a minute) you get special pricing and coupons and another little tag to hang on your already jam-packed keyring.

I understand the concept of a paid club membership to play golf, or a gym to work out, but an unpaid membership to a grocery store or pharmacy seems absurd to me. I realize it's just a method for keeping track of patrons' purchasing habits and a marketing ploy to make shoppers feel unique and cared for. Sort of a sly "permission marketing".

I find this mode of marketing a bit irritating. I don't want to carry more stuff in my purse or pocket, I'd really rather carry less. I'd rather you (I mean you, grocery store or Hallmark Card shop) please just give me (and everyone else) the special prices and stop with the memberships. I can even understand a paid membership to the big box stores like BJs and Costco, where you pay a membership fee to get the special pricing and you can choose to shop there or not. But when I go to CVS and the cashier asks whether I have a CVS card, the hair stands up on the back of my neck with irritation. I'm not entitled to purchase items at the sale prices without the card. Buy a mascara and get the eye shadow at 50% off; that's the kind of sale I'm talking about. So, of course, I have a CVS card. And three different grocery store "memberships", plus BJs, two bookstores, gas station, etc, etc. The coupons resulting (supposedly another membership perk) from such transactions never get used, because I have so many little receipts/coupons in my purse I can't keep track, then they are expired by the time I notice.

I don't think it's just me - I've heard rumblings from others. We can choose not to participate, and sometimes I say "no thank you". I want to know what you think...

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