Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What is the ratio of Schrute Bucks to Stanley Nickels?

If you're a New Yorker, odds are very good you have a Duane Reade "Dollar Rewards club" card in your wallet (or attached to your keychain). Non-New Yorkers are surely familiar with the concept -- the cashier scans the card when you check out, and your "account" receives "points" for whatever you buy, and every so often (when you reach 100 points) you get a coupon for $5 off your next purchase. Since DR has a stranglehold on the drugstore market in Manhattan -- and a store on every other block -- I end up shopping there a lot, and I'm all for saving money once in a while. I once heard a guy giving the cashier a whole speech about how he didn't have a card and he didn't want one, because the company was just using it to track his purchases and he wasn't going to be part of their scheme (and the cashier was like, Whatever, guy, I'm just supposed to ask if you have a damn card). Perhaps that man is right -- I wonder if he's still holding out? -- but I have enough soapboxes to stand on already; I can't be bothered to care about whether my pal Duane is keeping an eye on what I buy. I don't have anything to hide, aside from my addiction to Pepperidge Farm Brussels cookies. And there's no shame in that.

The only time I give any thought to the DR "Dollar Rewards" program is when I actually have one of those coupons (which print out at the bottom of your receipt) and I have to remember to use it within two weeks. Otherwise it is not a big part of my life, and that's how I think it should be. (Apparently you can keep track of your account online, but if you do that regularly I think you might need a hobby.) I mention it because I think it provides a helpful contrast to the "rewards" program at D'Agostino's, one of our neighborhood supermarkets. D'ags has the most complicated customer-rewards program I have ever encountered. I feel like I would need to take a night school course just to get a grasp on how it works. The husband signed us up a while ago, figuring it couldn't hurt, and I attached the little fob he gave me to my keychain. However, neither of us had any idea what "rewards" we would earn, if any, and subsequent shopping trips didn't make this any clearer. We always came home with a handful of receipt printouts pertaining to said "rewards," but aside from reading material we weren't getting much out of it. We decided that they were, for all intents and purposes, Schrute Bucks.

And then! Yesterday! The husband came home from a D'ags run and announced, "I saved money with our Schrute Bucks!" He says the cashier asked him if he wanted to apply his "Greenpoints" to the orange juice he was buying. Already we can pinpoint a problem with the D'ags system: They shouldn't have to ask you if you want to save money. There should be no decision-making involved. He said yes, of course, and we're not complaining about the $4.20 we saved. But we still have no idea why we saved it. This explanatory printout, which we studied for a good 10 minutes, hasn't been much help.

As you can see, I blacked out any potentially identifying information -- and I suspect I blacked out a lot more data than necessary. It's not that I'm paranoid; I just have no clue what any of these numbers mean! That's how impenetrable I find this whole program. We have a "target" number of "lunch purchases"? Says who? And it gets even more complicated -- check out this exciting opportunity.

WHAT THE HELL, D'ags. Why is this so COMPLICATED. I think it's the little "S&H" logos that are really throwing me off -- what is "S&H"? And do the icons mean something, or are they just there to confuse? I can't believe I'm wasting all this time thinking about it. And I don't even get 5 extra minutes of lunch for my troubles! Have any of you cracked the code? Can you fill me in? I'm totally at sea here.


The Husband said...

Very nicely done!

I just have a few more observations about the D'AG Schrute Bucks program:

1. Since we have never before been given the option of redeeming our Schrute bucks for rewards, this can only mean one of two things: a) they had a special *optional* deal on OJ that day, or b) you must accumulate at least 1300 Schrute bucks before you may redeem any of them for rewards. I think Dwight would approve of b), myself.

2. We "spent" 800 Schrute Bucks to save $3.40, which puts the value of a Schrute buck at 0.00425 cents (or 235.294117647059 Schrute bucks per dollar) - I'm not sure how to convert that into Stanley nickels.

3. Since we got 120 Schrute bucks for spending $12, it looks like we earn 10 Schrute bucks for every real buck we spend. So if we spent $80 to earn the 800 Schrute bucks we redeemed, our $3.40 discount amounts to savings of 4.25% - not as good as Duane Reade (5%) and a heck of a lot more confusing!

Amy said...

Best. Post. Ever.

Ah, you youthful, young, youngster. "S&H" refers to the long-defunct S&H Green Stamps, which I remember well from my childhood. When Mom went to the grocery store, she would come home with the receipt, and a strip of green stamps--say, one for each dollar she spent, or so. They would get stuffed in the junk drawer, and then twice a year or so, she would pull them all out and Jimmy and I would use sponges to moisten them and paste them into booklets. Once you had ten booklets, or twenty, you could go to an S&H Green Stamps Redemption Center and get a blender, or something else that caught your fancy. So it was a much more labor-intensive version of the Duane Reade/ D'Agostino's Schrute Bucks campaign.

As to what the rest of that stuff means, I truly have no clue.

Katney said...

We have neither of those stores here. But when you mentioned the S&H logo, I looked closely at it (I had to look closely because I am trying to get used to new glasses.) That looked familliar. I hadn't seen one in years and years--decades probably. Actually, probably since before you were born. (I'm old.)

When I wa a kid in California a very long time ago, (Remember, I'm old.) the big thing was S&H Green Stamps. You got them with purchases at certain stores and you saved them in little books and eventually, when you had saved up enough books of them, you redeemed them for something wonderful from the S&H Green Stamp Catalog. --Per Wikipedia: "S&H Green Stamps (also called Green Shield Stamps) were a form of trading stamps popular in the United States between the 1930s and late 1980s."

I found that when I just googled
S&H green stamps to see if the logo was the same and guess what else: from the Greenpoints website--"The old S&H Green Stamps are now S&H greenpoints. Get rewards. Travel rewards, car rentals and shopping via our points reward program… "

The S and the H stand for Sperry and Hutchinson--the originaters of the scheme.