I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, and I’ve decided that the stores around here have it wrong. Or maybe to be more precise, we do. We were in Panera Bread and got that question we get every time—“Do you have a rewards card?” Wait, let me flip through this keychain full of those little tabs for every store and restaurant in the county.

That’s what got me thinking. Why do I need their loyalty card? Shouldn’t they have mine? I mean, think about this. Every store wants you to sign up for their program and use your email address so they can send you great deals on the stuff they bought too much of and that you didn’t want anyway. But, you think, “Man, that’s a great deal. I have to go buy that.”  

Nobody wants to carry these.

So what’s the solution? Those stores need my loyalty card. They want my business, right? Isn’t that what these cards are for, so I’ll be loyal and come back to them? WRONG! They need our cards, people! They should be loyal to us, because that’s why they’re in business–to make money from us. They moved to our neighborhood to serve us, because somebody did a market survey that said that I might choose Popeye’s over KFC. These stores need to know what we actually want, how we want it, when we want to buy it, and where we want to pick it up. They need to tailor their sales to meet my needs.

They need to stop buying too many things that nobody wants to buy, reduce excess inventory, and stop putting useless cardboard displays in the middle of the aisles where I knock them over with the shopping cart. Instead, they need their app to scan all of our interests as customers and buy THAT stuff, and give us deals on THAT. Go on, give me 30 percent off a new 12-inch Ridgid miter saw instead of that deal on a 4,000-piece screwdriver bit sets that are always in the way in the front of your store, Home Depot.

How about you Wal Mart… You want to put the automotive detailing stuff on sale for 50 percent off this spring instead of the big display of unbought Easter decorations like you usually do? You’d know that’s what I want if you had MY loyalty card. And why not throw in a free bag of microfiber towels in three colors for me (Wax, Glass, Interior)? Safeway, you’d know exactly what kinds of frozen meals I like and stock those instead of always running out. And a message to you both, Safeway and Kohl’s: I’m onto your “buy one get one half off” crap. I want ONE. Give me a deal on ONE, and save all your markup for the suckers who don’t have their own loyalty card.

Now, I know you don’t want to have to carry around 12,000 little loyalty tags in case I walk into your store, so maybe you can enter your phone number to see if you’re a member of my Rewards Program.

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