Shopping Discussion

All rewards/loyalty programs should be banned - agree?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 21st, 2023 2:47 pm

Poll: Should all rewards/points be banned?

  • Total votes: 114. You have voted on this poll.
Yes
 
18
16%
No
 
96
84%
[OP]
Jr. Member
Nov 29, 2005
136 posts
27 upvotes

All rewards/loyalty programs should be banned - agree?

Cards, apps, points... all these stupid loyalty and rewards programs need to be outlawed. A simple regulation would end them all overnight. If all retailers have them, which they do now, there's no advantage to the retailer either because it reduces back to simple competition which already exists anyway. There may be some additional minor effects but who cares - it's not worth the wasted time and effort by all parties involved. It's a drain on resources, for no reason at all. It lengthens lineups, transaction times, shopping times.

Of course it's certainly of zero value to consumers - no retailer is giving anything away for free. The expense of points 'redemption' by the consumer is of course rolled back into costs, i.e. your prices increase marginally (assuming it's roughly a level rewards playing field across retail).

Absolute wasted human labor; end it all, I say.
62 replies
[OP]
Jr. Member
Nov 29, 2005
136 posts
27 upvotes
yinan0001 wrote: Seriously? What have you experienced…
Yeah seriously. But what does that even mean? Myself in general, trashy programs that deceive (like enticing you to buy at a really high 'regular' price just to get points - clearly the retailer benefits there, not the consumer) or programs that change or end and your points disappear. Or garbage websites like PC optimum that gives an error when you try sending them a 'contact us' message; or right now, that have suddenly deleted your entire balance for no reason. That's what spurred me to post but these garbage programs have always annoyed me. You're being forced to participate just to get the base market price on products; i.e. what you'd pay without the programs.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Nov 5, 2001
11534 posts
2346 upvotes
Edmonton
Yes comrade, state should set price for potato and everyone has potato because they all cost the same at every state run store.

But then nobody has money for anything other than potato anymore because all jobs only pay enough for potato.

Blyat! Such is life.
Deal Addict
Oct 13, 2017
1281 posts
1340 upvotes
Hamilton
You really think that consumers will be saving money by not having reward programs? Hahahahahahahahahaha

You have to know how to make use of it... I mean PC and other loyalty programs are counting on the people who don't maximize the points and just choose to shop at their stores to gain points and cash out at $10. They're also hoping it entices people to just do all their shopping there rather than shopping around. And if the stores weren't profiting they wouldn't continue with the program. But Loblaws is clearly doing quite well. And I suspect that adding Scene to Shoppers (especially since it can also be used at FreshCo) will also benefit them.

They also count on consumers buying things they wouldn't normally... or buying more than they normally would. So consumers do have to be smart and try to avoid those traps. But you certainly can make it work for you... Not too long ago I made money buying Cheez-It crackers. Friday night magic at SDM has earned me a ton of points.

You could simply not use the programs... That's certainly your choice.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jun 3, 2010
1236 posts
826 upvotes
Richmond Hill
I'll risk it post my opinion on this...

Are there too many customer loyalty programs out there? YES -- In a way, I'm happy for Google Wallet, where I can keep all the programs in one place and not have 20 cards with me all the time.

Do I frequently go to all the stores that I have loyalty programs with? NO

I still shop at the same stores I usually go to. Common ones that I visit that have a loyalty program are: Longo's, Loblaws / Shoppers Drug Mart, Starbucks, LCBO, Petro Canada, Rakuten, Aeroplan e-stores
EDIT: Add McDonald's to this list too

Do I think the loyalty programs are geared to give the consumer something great? NO

I don't look at the programs as me getting something for free...I don't go and buy stuff from those stores at full price if I don't need to. If I can get something cheaper at a store that I do not have loyalty with...I will buy it from there. I have bought A TON of stuff from Amazon, where I get no points back...all because it was the best price there compared with other loyalty stores.

The programs are there. They do not entice me to buy more than I need...if I get something out of it...BONUS, if it collapses before I cash out, I won't lose sleep over it either...it will kind of suck, but c'est la vie.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Nov 29, 2005
136 posts
27 upvotes
FallenAngel1978 wrote: And if the stores weren't profiting they wouldn't continue with the program.
Well but this brings up the other issue I didn't mention: retailers are also effectively forced to have a program because they're at a disadvantage now if they don't. Any one company can't afford to drop theirs if all their competitors have one. Which takes me back to this: we need to re-level the playing field by cancelling them all. They're a big hassle to everyone with no significant benefit to anyone.
Last edited by Beckler on Jan 12th, 2023 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Expert
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Mar 9, 2007
15091 posts
11829 upvotes
Think of the Childre…
I dunno bout ya'll but I've been reaping in the rewards from these programs.

WOULD SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!
Deal Fanatic
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Jun 13, 2010
6591 posts
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GTA
Learn how to use the rewards programs to your best advantage. Buy the items with points offers only when they are on sale as well. I usually can price match the items that I get PC points on. I had a points offer on Gay Lea butter the price at RCSS was $7 or 8, I price matched with Fresh Co's flyer for $3.99. So I got the sale price plus a bunch of PC points and not just the sale price. I've earned many hundreds of dollars worth of points by doing this.
Newbie
Apr 25, 2012
73 posts
144 upvotes
Toronto
Even if all stores have them so it kind of cancels out *between competing companies*, it doesn't cancel out between consumers because not all shoppers join or use the rewards program. So it effectively becomes a way for the stores to engage in third-degree price discrimination. They can attract people willing to pay the full ticketed price of the item, and gain all that revenue, but then they can also attract shoppers who would normally balk at the full price but who are willing to pay the reward-point-reduced price (e.g. "get 3,000 PC points when you buy two" which is effectively a $1.50 discount per item). Basically it's a way to offer two different price levels, which helps with revenue maximization. Probably both price levels are still profitable for the store, in which case in the ideal world of capitalism there would be enough competition that it would just charge the lower price to all. But for better or worse we don't live in the ideal world of capitalism. So perhaps think of it as: The people who don't join the rewards programs are subsidizing, to some extent, the lower prices for those who do.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 13, 2010
7768 posts
1795 upvotes
Scarborough
In principle i agree.
That way maybe stores can lower the price to attract customers in.

These days its like u have to give every store an email address so they can spam u daily.

Rewards are being shrunk/devalued everywhere
These programs only benefit those that either buy alot due to some reason or can game the system, but fir many its useless. Now the offers are few or not frequent enough to accumulate much.
Why should i go spend 200 bucks to get points? Why?

Just eliminate em all, and lets just pay what is is like in most other countries
Deal Fanatic
Jan 19, 2017
7701 posts
4485 upvotes
Beckler wrote: Cards, apps, points... all these stupid loyalty and rewards programs need to be outlawed. A simple regulation would end them all overnight. If all retailers have them, which they do now, there's no advantage to the retailer either because it reduces back to simple competition which already exists anyway. There may be some additional minor effects but who cares - it's not worth the wasted time and effort by all parties involved. It's a drain on resources, for no reason at all. It lengthens lineups, transaction times, shopping times.

Of course it's certainly of zero value to consumers - no retailer is giving anything away for free. The expense of points 'redemption' by the consumer is of course rolled back into costs, i.e. your prices increase marginally (assuming it's roughly a level rewards playing field across retail).

Absolute wasted human labor; end it all, I say.
If you know how to play the game, then you will be better off than people that don't know how or don't want to play.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Nov 29, 2005
136 posts
27 upvotes
mercatorduty wrote: Even if all stores have them so it kind of cancels out *between competing companies*, it doesn't cancel out between consumers because not all shoppers join or use the rewards program. So it effectively becomes a way for the stores to engage in third-degree price discrimination. They can attract people willing to pay the full ticketed price of the item, and gain all that revenue, but then they can also attract shoppers who would normally balk at the full price but who are willing to pay the reward-point-reduced price (e.g. "get 3,000 PC points when you buy two" which is effectively a $1.50 discount per item). Basically it's a way to offer two different price levels, which helps with revenue maximization. Probably both price levels are still profitable for the store, in which case in the ideal world of capitalism there would be enough competition that it would just charge the lower price to all. But for better or worse we don't live in the ideal world of capitalism. So perhaps think of it as: The people who don't join the rewards programs are subsidizing, to some extent, the lower prices for those who do.
I partly agree however I'm not sure it benefits the retailer. The assumption is that all of them have similar programs so it can't be an advantage unless consumption has increased. Maybe it has! That too isn't necessarily a good thing tho... :D
[OP]
Jr. Member
Nov 29, 2005
136 posts
27 upvotes
ml88888888 wrote: If you know how to play the game, then you will be better off than people that don't know how or don't want to play.
Yes exactly, but that's wasted human effort to have to administer, participate, have websites, etc., in order to just have that. What's it for, anyway? My assertion is that if they're eliminated, prices marginally drop equivalent to the points collecting. You are correct in that power users can game the system but that's <1% of people, surely. Is this something we really want to waste time on as a country? I'd much rather be doing fun things instead of price tracking 300 different sites so I can just pay free market prices instead of slightly inflated ones because of not participating in rewards! :D That's just me though - I also think advertising, ALL advertising, is obsolete and should be eliminated as well. I'm not against capitalist ideas - just against stupid, boring and useless annoying things that nobody wants...like advertising. :D
Deal Fanatic
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Jun 13, 2010
6591 posts
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GTA
Beckler wrote: Yes exactly, but that's wasted human effort to have to administer, participate, have websites, etc., in order to just have that. What's it for, anyway? My assertion is that if they're eliminated, prices marginally drop equivalent to the points collecting. You are correct in that power users can game the system but that's <1% of people, surely. Is this something we really want to waste time on as a country? I'd much rather be doing fun things instead of price tracking 300 different sites so I can just pay free market prices instead of slightly inflated ones because of not participating in rewards! :D That's just me though - I also think advertising, ALL advertising, is obsolete and should be eliminated as well. I'm not against capitalist ideas - just against stupid, boring and useless annoying things that nobody wants...like advertising. :D
What's it for? The data a retailer collects from these rewards programs is invaluable to them. They get so much (very specific) information every time you use your card about your shopping habits. After a year they probably know more than you do about how and where your money was spent.

You are way off, advertising is no where near obsolete. I do agree that some of it is stupid and boring, but advertising is very effective.
Newbie
Apr 25, 2012
73 posts
144 upvotes
Toronto
You might get your way, with credit cards, in the U.S.: https://archive.ph/KATDh
Though the threat from the banks is quite possibly hot air.
Interestingly, article points to research showing that credit card fees & rewards result in a net wealth transfer of at least a billion dollars (USD) from lowest-income families to rich households.

I see your point about all the administrative headache (wasted effort) of running these programs/apps/websites, the extra time at checkout when customers like me quibble over missing points, etc., and perhaps that is enough to merit outlawing them in the name of some greater economic efficiency. But there is still a sense in which these schemes allow for two (or more) sets of prices: the sticker price, which those who can afford it pay, and the lower points-reduced or points-factored price, which people who can't afford the sticker price, or don't want to pay the sticker price, can avail themselves of with a tiny amount of extra effort. I guess the question I have is: If a government forced companies to do away with these rewards schemes (and the associated costs), would the new sticker prices be higher than the previous sticker-plus-reward-discounted price? If so, then that would in fact be more price inflation for the shoppers who used to only buy at the points-discounted price, and would not be good for price-sensitive & some lower-income customers. If not, then sure, I suppose eliminating it wouldn't be a problem.

EDIT: Or following @tew, you can think of it in these terms: Consumers have the option to pay full price anonymously, or get a discount — of 1% to ~50%, depending on the reward scheme and the exact promo — if they're willing to give up their consumption data to the loyalty program. (Or you just get around it by earning and burning all your points within a few months, ditching your card, and getting a new one -- AirMiles, PC Optimum, etc).
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
29347 posts
14851 upvotes
ml88888888 wrote: If you know how to play the game, then you will be better off than people that don't know how or don't want to play.
This is why OP has a point.

It'd make for a much better consumer experience if everything wasn't gated behind a loyalty card and then having to game that system to maximize value.

I just want to buy something.

Not that OP's wishes will ever get granted. The information gained in trade for a few worthless points is invaluable.
Making it convoluted too is even better because it takes work (that some people aren't willing to put in) to maximize value.

I'd rather just give money for the best price but that's not happening.
Do you not have anything else to do rather than argue with strangers on the internet
Nope. That's why I'm on the internet arguing with strangers. If I had anything better to do I'd probably be doing it.
Deal Fanatic
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Jun 13, 2010
6591 posts
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GTA
death_hawk wrote: This is why OP has a point.

It'd make for a much better consumer experience if everything wasn't gated behind a loyalty card and then having to game that system to maximize value.

I just want to buy something.

Not that OP's wishes will ever get granted. The information gained in trade for a few worthless points is invaluable.
Making it convoluted too is even better because it takes work (that some people aren't willing to put in) to maximize value.

I'd rather just give money for the best price but that's not happening.
The points are far from worthless. I've made almost $2000 in PC points since it started with very little extra effort. I mostly do the same things I did before Optimum existed but now I earn points doing them. I find it takes very little effort to get extra value from the loyalty program.
Deal Addict
Oct 13, 2017
1281 posts
1340 upvotes
Hamilton
By that logic though places that don't have a loyalty program should be offering lower prices and that isn't the case. Until recently FreshCo did not have a loyalty program and their prices were on par with No Frills. Food Basics does not have a loyalty program (beyond discounting 1 item if you have the app) and again there is no discount on their prices. And even if they all decided to drop their rewards program retailers aren't going to drop their prices. They will just have more profit. Pretty sure Loblaws just had record profits as it is.

As long as people are willing to participate stores will continue to offer them. Because it gains them customers. I've shopped at Sobeys simply because they had an AirMiles deal. And gone to No Frills for a points deal. And as was mentioned it gives them all kinds of data about what people are purchasing. That's a treasure trove of information. From what days people tend to shop as well as their shopping habits.

I would definitely argue that it's not worthless though. When Sobeys dropped Air MIles I cashed in about $1000 worth of Air Miles. I didn't work that hard on it.... Mostly deals that were posted here. And right now I've got about $1800 in PC points. And that's after redeeming for Black Friday. So it has benefited me to have these programs. I'm not spending more but I am smarter about my spending.
Deal Addict
Jan 12, 2017
3038 posts
3797 upvotes
Langley
I remember when Safeway used force shoppers to scan their membership card to get the "sale" price.
They dropped their membership program so EVERYONE can enjoy savings, card or no card.
Safeway still remains one of more over priced grocery store chain in the west.

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