Friday, April 20, 2007

On the subject of coercion...

The girls and I were in Boots yesterday, queueing up to pay an extortionate £5 for a baby hair brush. We witnessed the lady in front of us being reprimanded by the cashier for breaking the seal on a lipstick that she was actually buying, then it was our turn.

"Have you got your loyalty card?" asked the matronly cashier, reminding me of our old swimming teacher when someone had forgotten their towel.


Tut. Sigh. "Tell me your name and address and I'll add your points."

"I haven't got a card."

"OK I'll start you off with one. Name?"

"I don't want one, thanks. I just want to pay for the brush."

More sighing. "If you don't have a card, you won't get the special offers."

"We don't come in often enough to get any special offers." (Yesterday was the first time in five years. I didn't realise the staff had mutated since my last visit. They couldn't be bothered to speak to customers once upon a time.)

"It doesn't matter. You'll still get points."

"No thanks, I don't want one."

"Well, I'll start you off with one anyway," she said, and reached for the form and scanned the bar code.

"I SAID I didn't WANT ONE."

Silence. The whole queue held its breath to see what would happen next.

The cashier glared. Stared. I met her gaze thinking: I've got k'ung fu, Lady, and 15 years on you. Do your worst.

She slowly and dramatically ripped the form in half and said, "Ooo kay.. I was only concerned you might miss your special offers..."

"Right. Here's five quid for the brush."

"...And your free things.."

"Do you want this money or not?"

She took the money and handed me my receipt as if I suddenly smelled bad. When we walked away I heard her saying to the next person: "Some people don't know what's good for them, do they?"

I guess I'll be barred from Boots now, for displaying wilful lack of loyalty ;-) Not that I'll notice: it'll be another five years, no doubt, before I'm desperate enough to want to shop there again. (Nowhere else stocked baby brushes.)

So. How much commission are they on for those loyalty cards? Or.. is that cashier just a frustrated swimming teacher, in the wrong job?


Blogger Tibetan Star said...

Loyalty cards are just another "Big Brother" scam to watch our shopping habits.

I was just reading that a recent study said: "It is not entirely absurd to imagine that supermarkets' loyalty card data might one day be used by the Government to identify people who ignored advice to eat healthily, or who drank too much, so that they could be given a lower priority for treatment by the NHS."

1:53 pm, April 20, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that post was funny enough to pull me out of appreciative lurkdom.


You know the answer to the loyalty card question is alawys "oh, yes, but I left it at home. I'll bring the receipt in next time"


1:59 pm, April 20, 2007  
Blogger Pete said...

Time to get a little "pulp fiction"....

"Ask me one more time if I want a loyalty card. Mo'Fo! I dare you! I double dare you!"

tibetan start: it works in the other direction too. one of the motivations for the government to impose ID cards is to sell the data commercially.

2:21 pm, April 20, 2007  
Blogger Ruth said...

I always say I have left it at home as well. They must get commission tho, surely, cos they are obssessed with us collecting the points. I mean why unless they gain too? I wondered if it was scam to see what we buy.

4:00 pm, April 20, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big brotherdom: reminds me of Oyster cards, which the faceless bureacrats collectively known as "Ken Livingstone" are very keen that one should register, with a name and address, ostensibly so that if a card gets lost or stolen one can have the credit transferred to a new card. But the prospect of some government employee somewhere saying "ooh, look, yesterday got on the 436 to Peckham" always bothered me. (well, the prospect of getting on the 436 to Peckham is somewhat bothersome too, but that's by the by)


4:35 pm, April 20, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Yes, wasn't there a link between the Cathedral Consortium (Hedra) running most of those card schemes and the NHS, police etc databases? And the people behind that consortium having some *very interesting* connections? (Oh, yeah, and Connexions).

Hi Emma, come on in - the water's warm! ;-)

Oyster cards. hmm... I wonder who's behind that? (Besides Ken Livingstone)

8:51 pm, April 20, 2007  
Anonymous Hypothetical Parent said...

LOL! That was very weird. I never was treated that way. They always get my "the what?", "no" and "no". But anyway, things only happen to me very hypothetically. :P

8:53 pm, April 20, 2007  
Blogger Raquel said...

I suppose when she asked if you wanted a loyalty card you could have said "I'm sorry I'm two timing you I also shop in Superdrug..loyalty is wasted on me!"

Today I was in Sainsburys and I brought my recycleable bag with me and the person at the till kept trying to scan it . I kept saying "Don't do that, it is mine!" He kept saying "You have to pay for it" I then said AGAIN..but I bought it the other day I'M USING IT AGAIN!...he then looked very confused. I think the concept of a bag for life had become one of those supermarket myths and he couldn't accept that people actually would reuse the bag!

Boots annoy me because the people working there think they are doctors. A man in front of me was buying some mild over the counter medication and the lady kept asking him about all sorts of personal things..eventually he said " I have been buying this for years, my doctor knows, she recommends that I buy it and I don't need your permission". all ranty! :)

11:21 pm, April 20, 2007  
Blogger Elaine said...

Great thing about largs there is no boots. we have superdrug,morrisons pharmacy, and 2 independants, plus a savers and a semi-chem (both of whom strangely enough sell 200g jars of nescafe for 2quid) , but the other day we were away down the road and jr had headache so I called in boots and after paying way over the odds for stuff I got asked 'the question' and said gleefully ''no, I don't need one
I am only buying here out of desperation'' I felt really good as jr dragged me out of the store muttering under her breath about me embarrasing her!.

11:25 pm, April 20, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had my first job at the age of 16 with Boots, (nearly 20 years ago now). They didn't have loyalty cards then, but they were a good employer. Well, the pay wasn't great, but they did a lot for their staff.

I don't think the staff are on commission with points cards, but they are probably told by management (and therefore the head office) to check if someone has a card and if not, to get them signed up.

Shop staff in big chains tend to fall into 2 categories: those who think the company they work for are the be all and end all, and those who see it as a way to earn money and are grounded.

Looks like you got the first one!

I love your blog by the way! Keep at it!


7:54 am, April 21, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

HP, well hopefully my cashier is unusual. If she wasn't, the company shares wouldn't be worth 1125GBp!

Raquel.. the Sainsbury's story is a pearler! That gave me a good laugh ;-)

Elaine, ROFL! I should have said that!

Julia, hi & thanks for the lovely compliment xx

Yes, my Boots lady was obviously one of life's natural swimming teachers ;-) (With apologies to all kind, gentle, non-bossy swimming teachers.)

9:52 am, April 21, 2007  
Blogger Rosie said...

Well, I never- what a pushy lady! I had a loyalty card moment yesterday at the garage- do you have a nectar card? do you want one? I just said no thanks, beaming, and skipped off enjoying the freedom. I also as asked if I wanted a store card and I explained that I had a bad credit rating and couldnt have one- that shut them up quick!

11:10 pm, April 23, 2007  

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