Upgrades, Loyalty Programs, and Imperial Fascists

Well, Blogger finally decided that it was time to make Shawed eligible for their Beta/Google upgrade. So, as of today, Shawed and all of the Shawed Family blogs are now running on the new platform. I not sure what will happen with this. Right now I'm still using the old template interface and don't see any widget options because of how Blogger converted the blog. That's good in one respect because I'm using the same interface (mostly) that I have been since this blog started and the tiny changes I'm seeing are pretty self-explanatory. On the other hand, I'm going to have to experiment with the new features and find out if there is a way to bring them into Shawed. I'm also not sure how this conversion will affect my contributors, so Super Fat Head, Anarchy and Mishou, you may want to log on and see if you can still post things. If they make you sign up for a gmail account (I had to to convert), there will be one grumpy blogger here.

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm really getting sick of this "loyalty" trend going on everywhere. Groceries, gasoline stations, and internet interface service providers are making people's lives hell.

Just yesterday I was out on my distribution route and I overheard a cashier trying to get someone to sign up for a loyalty card for the store. This poor guy had a huge bag of cat food and a bucket of litter. He'd already been standing in line for several minutes holding the items (this store is notorious for disappearing cashiers and empty checkouts) while the cashier gabbed with someone in front of him. He had a look on his face that told me he just wanted to buy the stuff and get out of there. So, the cashier looks at him and asks if he has a loyalty card. The guy says know and starts shuffling in his wallet (clear nonverbal that he's not interested). The cashier of course has a goal each month telling her how many loyalty sign-ups she should achieve. She begins telling him about all the money he'll save by signing up for this plastic card (and junk mail and email ads), and then uses a tone of voice that indicates he's an idiot if he doesn't do it since the membership is free. The poor dude was finally defeated by her peer pressure (there were other customers behind him and this was the only open line) and signed up for the card.

While many places do have good loyalty programs with decent rewards for frequent shoppers, most places that offer these cards just use them to be able to charge folks who don't want ads more for the same products. Also, every card can only be used at one franchise. So if you shop multiple places like I do, you end up carrying around tons of bits of plastic. I always use the keyring-sized cards and put them on the ring on my wallet. Apparently most cashiers aren't too fond of that. Well, too bad for them. I don't want to pay more than loyalty members, I'm not going to have room for that many full-sized cards, and the safest way to remember to take them with me when shopping is to physically attach them to my money source so they are not forgotten. I have an enormous amount of them too, so finding a specific one usually takes at least a few minutes.

Here's my idea for all the people who started these blasted things and want to continue using them:

Give everyone a UPC code (Universal Person Code). They can go online or somewhere else that's designated and sign up for this card. Then, all of their mailing information and everything is stored in one database. When a person wants to sign up for a store loyalty card, the store scans their master UPC card and pulls their info in from this database. The store then inputs their customer identification code into the master UPC system. Now the store can track the person's purchases or whatever they get out of it, and the person only has to carry one card and not fill out 3,000 forms. Basically the master UPC would be cross-referenced with the customer ID housed by the store loyalty database. Consumers could then sign up for more loyalty programs faster, only have to carry one card for all stores, and be able to receive the "special benefits" granted to loyalty shoppers. If a person doesn't want to join the program, they can decline. If the person isn't sure they are a loyalty member, a quick scan of their master UPC will let them know.

The government would also benefit because then they could track every store and purchase you make. That way they can stop people when they begin exhibiting terrorist behaviors such as buying vinegar and baking soda in the same purchase or whatever other advanced algorithms they use to decide to turn someone's life upside down. I know that many have given up on the dreams of ultimate mailing lists and a 1984-esque society, but I think if we all pull together and use some common sense, we can finally achieve total loss of individual freedoms and attain absolute fascism. That or the Bush family can finally form the Empire they've been working on for the last 18 years. Now, who's with me?

An interesting side note dear readers - please take a look at the statements below concerning a particular type of government philosophy (copied form the ever erroneous Wikipedia) and see if they remind you of anything. Click "What's this from?" to see the source.

1. a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond reach of traditional solutions;
2. belief one’s group is the victim, justifying any action without legal or moral limits;
3. need for authority by a natural leader above the law, relying on the superiority of his instincts;
4. right of the chosen people to dominate others without legal or moral restraint;
5. fear of foreign `contamination.'

What's this from?


“If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story.” – The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents