Yes, I saved $5!

Why do stores have discount cards? Is it because they want to be nice? Hook you up with some great deals?

Not really. You might think that you are winning because you are saving two dollars on a loaf of bread or three dollars because you bought two boxes of cereal instead of one. However, you are not the real champion; the store is.

By using a store discount card, you are giving away very valuable information. Information about you, what you buy, when you buy it and how often you do so. The store is now able to track your purchases and your spending’s, something that is in their favor. If they can see what you buy and how often, they can specifically target you. When you swipe your loyalty card, the store obtains valued information that they can use to get you back in their store to spend more money.

Of course, the stores won’t tell you this. They want you to think that you are being rewarded for being a loyal customer, and sure, you are, since the word loyal translates to profit in their ears. Because the cost of obtaining a new customer is around five times as high, stores always try to find ways to get you back in the door.


Just think about it, by looking at what you are buying stores know that you prefer a certain brand of soy milk over another, or a certain kind of chips for example. It is not a coincidence that you are getting coupons and offers for items that you frequently purchase. Once you swipe that “loyalty” card your purchase history goes straight into the stores computer system and they can start analyzing it. Your buying habits are being compared to other customers to figure out patterns, trends and other valuable information that can benefit the store.

I do have a Harris Teeter Vic (Yes, I’m a very important customer) card myself and I do get excited when I save 4 dollars on ice-cream. However, I do understand the idea behind a store card and that every time I swipe that Vic card my shopping spree is being analyzed into a statistic that is used to target shoppers.

How do you feel about store cards? Do you have a Harris Teeter card, or any other customer loyalty card?

–  Olivia Nilsson