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Daily Activities include: Errands


After walking with M. (yay! First time this week, altho I did go by myself once -- scheduling around the kids has been Not Possible), I went to the hardware store for Yet Another Can of Paint and returned home to deliver the paint. Then back out again: to the library to pick up another book (_The Carriage Trade), Staples to use Reward Points before they expire, Trader Joe's for lettuce and orange chicken and a few other things, the bank to deposit two checks and get more cash and Roche Bros. to buy groceries.

Home again to drop everything off then back out for Thai food for lunch, returning with take out for R.

Ah, sitting down.

The Staples outing was Interesting. I don't usually go out of my way to use Rewards points, but T.'s iPad case was in bad shape and while I was able to buy a nominally identical one, the nominally identical one ... wasn't. Alas, Staples selection of original iPad compatible cases is not extensive and nothing looked like something T. might like. The second bright idea was to buy more binders or scrap booking binders or binder equivalents; alas, nothing in the store met my criteria for Do I Trust You Are Truly Archival. (And I better understand why A.'s experience with Pioneer is a bit different from mine.) Third idea was to buy pink, fine dry erase markers, but you can only get those as part of a set. This is both kids' favorite kind of dry erase marker. I'm basically screwed, because, like red popsicles, it does not appear possible to buy JUST that color.

I ultimately bought some magnetic clips (sold as locker accessories, but we'll use them on the kitchen magnet board), another spiral notebook of drawing paper (we go through those fairly quickly -- I like the Bienfang that Staples carries much better than other readily available things), garbage bags that look like the right size to line the shredder bin (this is actually kind of important, because I have a massive shredding project that I've been avoiding because I hate dealing with the fluttery bits of Paper Mess) and probably something else which I've forgotten. I had $28 in Rewards points (which is the only reason I bothered: I hate going to a store I wasn't going to go to otherwise to avoid losing amounts less than $20, and even then I feel cranky about the whole thing).

Turns out you cannot redeem Rewards points at POS with just a phone number. They want a printed out points statement altho apparently you can also use their App as it can display the SKU. I tried accessing the page through my phone (without the App), but it loaded too slow. Partway through the process (as a line was developing), the trainee cashier said, oh, hey, we have a computer. So off I went to _print out the two pages of paper_ with my Rewards points. Honestly, the only reason I had so many was because when I was Xmas shopping, they had some sort of deal on their overpriced batteries where you got all the money back in the form of points.

I hate it when promotional schemes distort my behavior.

Anyway.

So now I'm sitting here updating my phone and downloading the Staples app, because, well, now I'm curious. I feel so weird about having been surprised by the phone book thing that anything involving paper Gets My Attention. Also, Office Depot/Office Max merger.

Observations about the Staples App: (1) Really? There's a Staples login AND a Staples Reward Center login and _they are not the same_?!? (2) I just redeemed all of those Rewards points which are still showing. Hmmm. (And I checked: I really did redeem those; there must be a delayed sync between POS and the rest of their customer facing systems, which suggests an opportunity for abuse.)

Sometimes, when I'm thinking about the general ridiculousness of something, I stop myself and I go, well, is anyone doing a _better_ job? I'm stunned at how rarely I can answer that question in the affirmative.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
ethelmay
Feb. 22nd, 2013 07:56 pm (UTC)
Y'know, it occurs to me that I have a Staples card, and show it when I check out there, but have never even bothered to figure out what Rewards points are good for (same with OfficeMax). I bet a lot of people are in my boat.
walkitout
Feb. 22nd, 2013 08:22 pm (UTC)
showing it at checkout is about 90% of the value
Not by any careful use-case analysis, but just my guess. You sometimes get a discount/coupon right away by showing the card, but you generate rewards cards and like any rewards system, they can be redeemed later on, either as part or all of whatever you buy later.

I _never_ used the redemption portion of _any_ rewards system until fairly recently, because I _HATE HATE HATE_ (did I say hate? So no strong enough!) promotional systems that distort my behavior. I think that whenever you use this stuff you spend more than you would otherwise, so the savings are illusory. However, I started using the rewards at Gymboree, because I was going anyway. And then, once I started using them, I got curious about some of the other stores that I was already signed up at and have been trying to figure out which are worth using. Answer: Gymboree and Lane Bryant are worth bothering with; Staples I'm still trying to figure out whether it's worth while; nothing else I've tried is worth the trouble (CVS, Hallmark, notably).

I harbor a suspicion that Rewards systems in conjunction with apps/passport/digital wallet/wtf may actually become more widely used -- coupon clipping and managing is Horrifying and Awful. But if you've got your phone or whatever anyway, and setup isn't too bad, then why not, right?


Edited at 2013-02-22 08:24 pm (UTC)
walkitout
Feb. 22nd, 2013 08:31 pm (UTC)
Re: showing it at checkout is about 90% of the value
Weird.

People apparently _really_ do weird shit with Rewards systems.

http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/deal-discussion/1241437/
ethelmay
Feb. 22nd, 2013 08:55 pm (UTC)
Re: showing it at checkout is about 90% of the value
I don't recall ever getting a discount at purchase, but maybe. I've always figured that in order to redeem anything I'd have to link the number to my name and address and all that so they could spam me ad lib., and for that my enthusiasm rapidly cools. I'd much prefer something like my bookstore card, where I get a discount after a set number of purchases that's equal to the average of said purchases (and Staples being a big outfit that would be quite easy to automate -- the bookstore does it by hand). But of course they want a system where a lot of people will never bother, rather than one that could happen automatically.
walkitout
Feb. 22nd, 2013 09:27 pm (UTC)
Re: showing it at checkout is about 90% of the value
I'm not entirely certain why these programs have such complex structures. I suspect in part because they can (you introduce computers that can do sort of arbitrary things and people will do that, even when it's stupid, whereas when you do things by hand, it has to be comprehensible). But I also suspect they are attempting to shift business, because a lot of rewards points are only redeemable during certain time periods, and they are often not exactly the time periods one would ordinary be shopping -- a little too early for back to school, or in some sort of holiday dead zone like February or whatever. Whereas a bookstore is just trying to encourage regulars to be ... regulars, and show their appreciation for being a regular.
walkitout
Feb. 22nd, 2013 09:28 pm (UTC)
Re: showing it at checkout is about 90% of the value
Do you remember the Lord Peter Wimsey story or novel or whatever about the cigarette rewards system he devised?
ethelmay
Feb. 22nd, 2013 11:37 pm (UTC)
Re: showing it at checkout is about 90% of the value
Whiffling! Yes! It's in Murder Must Advertise, though it's actually a relatively small part of the story.

Sayers herself, in her advertising days, came up with a less expensive but fascinating advertising campaign called the Mustard Club. See http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/egg/egg0796/qtip.html#axzz2Lfr1cutL
walkitout
Feb. 23rd, 2013 01:09 am (UTC)
Re: showing it at checkout is about 90% of the value
Cool! I always figured the description sounded like it came from someone who had done that sort of work but I don't believe I ever knew any details. I love that they let people join what started out as a "club" but became an actual club!
ethelmay
Feb. 23rd, 2013 02:26 am (UTC)
Re: showing it at checkout is about 90% of the value
Sayers was a fascinating person. Did you know she had an illegitimate son?
walkitout
Feb. 23rd, 2013 02:48 am (UTC)
Re: showing it at checkout is about 90% of the value
No! Wow! I just found a Guardian article about his second wife selling Dorothy Sayers' letters back in 2000?
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )