Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Ain't-Got-My-Preferred-Customer-Super-Fresh-Values-Card Blues

Sometimes, dealing with high school kids outside of school can be a little aggravating.

Was just at the supermarket, loading up on groceries and booze to get me through another week. Got in a fairly short line that quickly started moving a little too slow. The cashier appeared to be a new hire, a fresh-faced high school girl that hasn't learned to swipe item after item over the scanner in one, quick motion. Each item got a slow, two-handed scan, then a look to see if it registered correctly.

The customers ahead of me, two girls together, didn't have a "preferred customer super fresh values" card, so the cashier handed them an application form. I waited as they started filling it out. When the cashier found out the girls weren't 18, she told them they couldn't get a card, but that she'd swipe the dummy card she had. Fine. Get going.

One of the girls then had trouble with the credit card keypad and asked, "What did I do?" The cashier, in her own world, ignoring the question and following her instructions to a tee, said, "You saved two dollars." The customer figured out the machine on her own.

My turn. I didn't have my "preferred customer super fresh values" card either, so I typed in my home number. "I'm sorry, that's an invalid number," the cashier told me. "Can you give me another?" I gave her my mom's number, knowing she's got a card. That one's invalid, too, I was told. She kept scanning my items.

"Can't you just swipe that card?" I asked, pointing at the one she had used for the other girls.

"No, I'm sorry, I can't do that for every customer."

"But I have a card, I just forgot it."

She finished scanning and gave me my total. "That girl wanted to apply for a card, but she wasn't 18," she explained.

"I understand," I said. "So that's why you shouldn't have given her the discount. I have a card, so that's why I deserve it. I just don't remember what phone number I wrote down when I applied 15 years ago."

She just stared at me. I guess at training last weekend she was told not to give discounts to customers without cards. I suppose the store has secret shoppers that bust cashiers handing out discounts to undeserving people. It's possible even that she's under surveillance at all times, and any undeserved discount she gives comes out of her paycheck. I don't know.

"Fine," I said, "I guess you'll have to void this entire order, because I'm not paying full price." Yeah, I'm sort of a cheapskate about certain things. I'm definitely not loyal to any brands, so if some eggs are on sale and others aren't, I'll get the cheaper ones. (Well, as long as they're brown, cage-free, organic eggs.) So pretty much every item in my order had some discount coming its way.

She looked surprised as I put my credit card away and started moving to leave.

"Maybe you can ask the next customer if you can use his card," she said, then asked him. "Can he use your card?"

Of course the guy said yes, and I got my discount. I quickly paid and moved to get out of there.

"You saved $22.96," she said as I left. "Do you need help outside?"


Mr. Molitor said...

A little trick I learned. You can use your Dominick's card at Jewel to get the same discount. They've linked both networks. Works every time.

jenska said...

Oooh, that's a good trick, Mr. Molitor! I will remember that. I've never been able to get my phone # to work, either, yet my other half has no problem with it. Weird.

appopt said...

I find it hard to believe that the networks would be linked. I thought it was all about getting marketing information about their stores, and that they wouldn't want to share customer info. But I'll try it.