I’m loyal and I have a card to prove it. In fact, I have a dozen cards.
On one I get a stamp every time I spend ten dollars. Another gets punched with each purchase of olive oil. Some cards have to have a person sign them, others have distinctive little rubber stamps or paper punches.
I love these cards. To me they’re money in the bank. I like to save them, though, which is not a good idea. I have several full cards, one is worth a free dessert, another promises a discount on my next purchase, a third gives me ten dollars towards my next book. Problem is, those stores no longer exist.
But I still love loyalty cards and have a section of my wallet dedicated to them. Some are called local cards, and are handed out primarily to people who live in my tourist town year round. It is a kind of thank you for putting up with the crowds that these businesses depend on. They tell me I am appreciated, and I like that.
Others are straightforward quantity rewards, a frequent flier system, the more you buy, the more rewards you earn. I like those, too. Do I buy more because I use these cards? Probably not, but I might decide to wait and buy my oil at the shop with the card, instead of at the grocery store.
There is that big box chain store in nearby Ellsworth, but I have never been in it. I doubt they have loyalty cards, and they sure don’t have local cards. Most of the stores that offer loyalty cards are small independent businesses. They must struggle in the off-season unless they have strong on-line sales, and restaurants, well, Bar Harbor in winter probably has more than the population can support. I wish I could dine at all of them every night.
I would want to shop local anyway, but the cards are a way of saying we are in this together. I am just one of many customers, but when I walk away with my bonus bottle of wine, or have ten percent taken off my bill, I feel special. I feel a connection with the business that gave me that gift. Whenever I get a loyalty treat I make sure the business knows that I am grateful this. This is because I really am, and because I hope they keep doing it.
What do you need to buy today? Try a local business. They probably have what you need, and you’ll get something more than what you went in for–appreciation.