Thursday, 26 November 2020

Every little doesn’t count

Some people regard supermarket loyalty cards as an invasion of privacy, but I have to say I’m not too bothered about the Tesco Clubcard so long as they don’t start sending me discount vouchers for carrots. I typically spend maybe £15-£20 there each week, and every three months get a coupon for £3 or so off my shop.

Every Christmas for quite a few years, they’ve sent me a batch of coupons offering me one week of £6 off if I spent £40, and then £4 off for each of the two following weeks. Their main objective, I assume, is to encourage me to do my Christmas shopping there rather than with one of their competitors, but it’s a useful discount given that I’m spending more money at that time of year anyway.

However, this year I noticed that, in the small print, alongside the usual exclusions of petrol, tobacco, infant formula milk and the like, they had added alcohol. Now, while my weekly spend isn’t primarily on drink, there’s usually a couple of bottles or cans included, and at Christmas a significant amount of the extra spending is going to be on alcohol, either for myself or as presents. I might treat myself, say, to a nice bottle of malt whisky that I wouldn’t normally do through the year.

With alcohol excluded, I would struggle to get together enough other shopping to reach the £40 threshold on even one occasion, unless there was some particular household or clothing item I wanted, which at present there isn’t. So the upshot is that the coupons end up in the recycling, and a little amount of goodwill has been lost.

I can understand that this may have to apply in Scotland because of their minimum pricing legislation, but in England it just comes across as remarkably lacking in Christmas spirit, in more ways than one. It’s yet another small, niggling turn of the prohibitionist screw.

7 comments:

  1. I do have Tescos card but use Morrisons 99 per cent of the time. Only items I miss at Tescos are Oakham Citra, rotisserie chicken and Pisner Urquell in 330ml can 6-pack. On the other hand, Morrisons has better steak mince, chicken breast, good deli/cheese counter with manchego cheese and Pilsner Urquell in 500ml bottles. Sainsburys I'm boycotting because they haven't provided a safe place for me, so I switched the nectar points to be used at eBay. If only Morrisons had Citra and PU in 6-packs it would be just about perfect for my needs.

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    1. I divide my favours between Tesco and Morrisons as each sells some things that the other doesn't. The rate of accrual of points on the Morrisons' More Card is only half that of the Clubcard, though, so on its own it's hardly worth bothering with.

      They normally give some Christmas coupons out too, although I haven't had any yet. I'll wait and see whether they apply the same restriction on alcohol.

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  2. Its a pity they are excluding alcohol. I used to reach the £40 threshold because at Christmas I would buy some Warnincks Advokaat as well as my usual Sanatogen tonic wine. Now I won't get near £40.

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  3. What is irritating, the coupons often have the expiry date only a week away.

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  4. Loyalty cards are hardly an invasion of privacy. You don’t have to have one. Supermarkets strangely find that a 1% or less effective discount is excellent value for your shopping data, which is added to the data they buy in to target advertising and offers at you. It’s irritating that some have stopped doing deals on alcoholism though as your data is worth much more. I wonder if exclusions like alcohol are also tailored to the individual though?

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    1. Yes, it's voluntary, but some people choose not to use them because they don't like having their behaviour tracked in that way. I would probably ditch the Clubcard if they started giving me offers that were trying to influence my behaviour rather than simply reflecting what I already bought. Or if they stopped accruing points on alcohol.

      The exclusion is printed on the back of the coupon so I'm pretty sure it's not tailored to the individual. They confirmed this when I e-mailed them about it.

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  5. Is the alcohol exclusion because of Scotland? If it is classed as a discount or promoption it would be illegal north of the border.

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