#650: Frequent Buyer

GETTING MORE TALE #650: Frequent Buyer

I heard through the grapevine* recently that my old store (“the Record Store”) are discontinuing their frequent buyer cards.  These cards have a long, long history going back more than 25 years.  First we offered free tapes and CDs – buy 10, get one free.  Those were eventually phased out when we stopped carrying new tapes and CDs, but due to popular demand we added a free used CD card – buy 12, get one free.

Minimum wage just went up on the province of Ontario, to $14 an hour.  In 2019, it will go up again, to $15 an hour.  There is an election in six months, and the present provincial government is pulling out all the stops trying to appeal to young voters.  Some restaurants are battling the wage increase by cutting hours, raising prices or cutting staff breaks.  At the store any time wages went up, hours were cut and we reviewed what we were paying for incoming used CDs.  It appears that this time out, the Record Store is cutting the frequent buyer card.

Frequent buyer cards are on the way out anyway.  Remember when Subway used to have them?  Seems like a long time ago now, because it has been:  Sub Club cards were phased out back in 2005!

Our frequent buyer card was very popular.  We would redeem several of them on any typical day.  You could cash it in for any used CD, $11.99 or less, and we gave away a lot of free CDs.  Customers would collect the cards, save them up, and treat themselves to something they really wanted.  It was a great incentive to get customers to buy more than one CD at a time.  People would buy an extra CD or two to collect the stamps, especially if they were close to completing their card.  Very few were the people who turned down the card.  “I have too much crap in my wallet,” was the most common reason for declining, but most people like the feeling of getting something for free.

It’s sad to see this era pass.  My wallet is empty; I redeemed my card last visit.  I know some customers would be furious.  People love to complain.  They used to whine that we wouldn’t stamp their cards if they bought a cheapie out of the “bargain bin”.  (If they were nice about it, I’d give them a stamp for every two cheapies they bought, though it was against the rules.)  Now they’re going to be pissed that they can’t get stamps at all.  I don’t envy the staff members who have to explain this to the complainy types.  (“Do you know how long I’ve shopped here?” will be one complaint they can look forward to.)

Prepare for more minimum wage fallout in Ontario over the next year.  This is only beginning.

 

*  I won’t say who told me…even if you do the unskinny “Bop”.

** That was a clue.

 

 

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31 comments

  1. I was in the Burlington store last night and asked if they had got flak yet.

    The girls said only about 2% complained (I find that hard to believe). The one said when they explain the reason why (minimum wage going up) that people understand. I also do not really believe people understand. I don’t blame the workers. I feel sorry for them.

    Customers are fickle. They will often act like they agree with a new policy but either:
    A) spend less
    B) not visit as often
    C) never go back
    D) still continue to shop there as often and spend as much as before

    I bet D is not going to be s popular choice

    Liked by 2 people

      1. As a business owner in Canada, I would rather a pissed off customer let me know. Then I can try and fix it.

        The pissed off customers who are part of this mystical 98% that supposedly “understand” are Canadians.
        Passive aggresive. They may appear to understand but inside think “I won’t be coming back here again.”

        My guess is in 1 year, a few of the remaining locations close, and the higher ups will blame the wage, but it will mostly be bad business decisions.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. 2019 is going to be a huge kick in the nuts for a lot of businesses. They are doing their best to endure the wage hike, but then when the next one kicks in, how many tricks are left in the book to try?

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m also noticing that the prices keep creeping up there.
      Almost at prices of new, and sometimes more than Amazon.
      Plus they only pay $1 for used stock.

      So.basically we.have to soend over $100 plus tax, to get 1 cd that cost a buck.

      I don’t get how that helps compensate for the increase in minimum wage.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I don’t know the inside scoop if what they pay. I was going to turn in a few doubles I had, and it seemed like I was only going to get a buck. Maybe I assumed they only pay a buck, but maybe more for rare stuff.
          I know it’s a business and they are in it to make money, but it seems like taking away the incentive to buy more is wrong.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I think so. It was great for movie buyers too. I used to buy a lot of movies, until I got Netflix and Crave TV. But it wouldn’t be strange to buy 4-5 movies at a time and already have half a full card.

          Like

    1. What I didn’t like was Value Village stopped their program Jan 1.

      They used to give out cards up to 30% off next purchase.

      You had to buy $100 of stuff to get the discount.

      I think I was around $90 and the program ended with no warning. That $90 I spent meant nothing on Jan..1
      If I would have known I would have spent the extra 10 bucks to save next visit.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Man. Minimum wage fall out really does highlight the extent to which businesses exploit their staff and their customers. I have a degree of sympathy for smaller businesses, but, y’know, surely they take overheads / cost into consideration and review across the board?

    There’s really no change, cause every other business is in the same boat… it really is a case of increase prices, continue to offer incentives (if they offer them).

    …and a store that trades in used CDs? C’mon, chances are they reduced what they paid out a long time ago, while displaying little change in what they sell for. I’m surprised the labels / industry isn’t more of a risk to them (looking for a cut of profits from the re-selling).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The big controversy right now is Tim Horton’s. A lot of their stores are cutting this and that. One of the owning families that made cuts is currently living in their summer home in Florida. That really upset a lot of employees.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The record store in my town closed it’s doors for good at the end of last year. The owner tried hard for seven years, but in the end could not come up with a business model that worked. Irt minimum wage increase, I suppose there are some disadvantages for both employees and consumers. People that are fortunate enough to get a job will either be working more hours for less money or less hours for more money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Jamie, thanks for this comment. That’s a real shame. Did you only have the one record store in your town?

      I read an article today about vinyl, and it argued that we have not reached peak vinyl yet. If that is true, I hope that means record stores can keep hanging on. I’d rather buy a record in a store, than over Amazon.

      Like

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