My supermarket loyalty card has a date with a pair of scissors. It’s got to go. As an enthusiastic user, I have long wondered if this makes me a wise shopper or a feeble-minded fool. I am erring towards the latter. It has me in its grip. I’m buying stuff because it comes with lots of points rather than because I actually, you know, need it. Litre bottles of own brand olive oil, for example. For some reason they’re often worth 150 points or more. I have enough of the stuff to bathe in. This week, as it happens, I noted it was suddenly only worth 20 points a pop. A-ha, I thought. Gotcha! I’m not falling for that one. Except, of course, I have been falling for something; I just don’t know what. How does it work? How do they decide to whom to offer what for however many points? Do the points vary? Is the bloke putting the olive oil in his basket getting 150 points for it while I get but 20?
For ages, parmesan was worth 200 points a pop. Naturally, I panic-bought it. But had the price been raised to negate whatever pittance of a payback those points would be worth to me? What happens when I buy three lots of parmesan a week for six weeks running? Is this flagged up at HQ? I imagine my image, pulled from the cheese aisle’s security camera, is blown up to poster size and pinned on the wall below a sign reading: Loser User of the Month.
And staying with cheese, week in week out, a size and brand of red leicester I like appears on my app as being worth 200 points. And every week, salivating at the prospect of the points as much as the cheese, I look for it. And get this: IT’S NEVER THERE. Again, I assume I am being watched on a big screen at HQ, with the whole crew pointing and laughing. I am glad I’ve brought/bought them such joy.
But no more. I’m done. It’s over between us.
• Adrian Chiles is a broadcaster, writer and Guardian columnist
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