You go to the giant supermarket. A couple of hours fly by, while you wander around the aisles, vainly trying to find the things you need such as potatoes and laundry detergent, while picking up a huge amount of stuff you don’t need: variously-flavoured rice-krispies, inventively-packaged snacks. The children scream and tug at your arms; they do not like what you have in the trolley, they want to push the trolley themselves, they want to sit in the trolley, they want a toothpaste with a barbie on top, they want to look at the lobsters forever. Eventually, feeling like hell, you make your way to the cash register. At the moment of payment, the cashier murmers a strange code word: airmiles? optimum card? As unaware newbies, we always answered no.
In those days, we didn’t particularly care where we bought our soap and toothpaste from, so long as it was cheap. We didn’t differentiate between Shoppers’ Drug Mart (a gigantic drugstore chain) or Lawtons (another one). We knew that sanitary napkins were cheaper at one than the other.
Until last week, when I bid adieu to my backward shoppers innocence, acquired an Optimum Card, and became a loyal shopper at the Shopper D.M.
It started with spending 100 dollars on skin care products. (It was deal! Each of them singly would have cost 200 dollars, and they were offering me all of them together for half the price! I needed them! The packaging was beautiful, as if done by silver fairies!). And I was alone, no bothersome children nagging and whinging at my side. The saleswoman asked me if I had an Optimum card. I said no. She gasped, much like a religious believer hearing their favourite profet accused of petty theft. Then, she smiled deeply and lovingly: `Let me tell you abut it- it just makes so much sense.` And I was hooked.
The premise is simple: the more you shop at Shoppers, the more they love you. After spending 100 dollars, I had 950 points on my Optimum card. Once it reaches one million, or three million, or something, you have 10 dollars, or 5 dollars, or 50, on your card, to spend as you please at Shoppers. I think there is a little website you an check to see how many points you have accumulated by buying so many yards of toilet paper. The saleslady told me the points would accumulate faster than i could believe.
All very well. But I kind of regret those carefree days when I didn`t have to think where I bought my toilet paper. When a little extra amount of my limited brain-space wasn`t occupied by counting points. When I wasn`t `rewarded` by faceless corporations. When I wasn`t a savvy consumer yet.
Well, so much for kapitalism. Better than the morality police, as my fellow-canadians would helpfully point out.