LOYALTY PROGRAMS: WAR ON THE POOR, WHO WOULDA THOUGHT, EH?
Working in the call center industry has only reinforced my negative opinion of these so-called ‘loyalty’ programs, what we normally call ‘points’ programs. As far as I’m considered, and this has been proven by the corporate strategies behind them, they are just gimmicks to get people to consume more goods and services. They were originally brought in sometime ago when growth in sales and profits for most companies in the west began tapering off after the 1979-82 recession and companies began the mad rush towards ‘market convergence’, ‘integration’ ‘re-structuring’ ‘downsizing’ ‘right-sizing’, ‘team concept’ approach to everything with armies of consultants with their pie charts, bar graphs, and corporate buzz words, and, of course, so many more layers of management added to analyse it all so as to remain or become more ‘competitive’ and to ‘create more wealth and shareholder value’ in the face of the eastern and southern onslaught, while all the while cutting jobs, off shoring, near shoring, cutting wages, benefits, pensions, and vacations for labourers while hiking bonuses for management and shareholders.
All of this was supposed to make the corporate world in the west more sustainable, by, ironically, attacking the very underpinnings of the domestic market upon which its original sustainability had originally been predicated. They did this by exhorting a shrinking domestic market element, which they themselves had contributed to undermining in the first place through their deconstructionist neo-conservatively-minded globalized policies, to consume more stuff by subscribing to these loyalty programs so as to shore up the softening domestic demand side of the domestic market. This was ironic, because they themselves had contributed towards creating that very situation, and were currently contributing towards exacerbating it by enabling the domestic consumer market to pursue a path of unsustainable consumer spending based on debt-based spending, embellished by loyalty programs which only served to augment an artificial sense of consumerism, by tricking people into thinking they were getting ‘free stuff’ with their points.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The corporate world doesn’t ‘give away’ any ‘free stuff’, whatsoever. It simply finances its loyalty programs by increasing the basic cost of its goods and services across the board at source and factors in these increased costs and passes them on to the consumer so as to pay for the cost of the so-called, free stuff, that people get when they’ve accumulated enough points to redeem them for this so-called free stuff.
So basically, if you’re a low income person like me, you’re essentially subsidizing the consumption patterns of higher income people who earn enough to be able to buy enough stuff to accumulate enough points so as to get more stuff for ‘free’, whereas low income people like me, who don’t believe in mass consumption to begin with and who don’t earn enough anyways to engage in it, end up paying more for my goods and services, like anybody else, but nevertheless, don’t buy enough stuff to be able to accumulate points to be able to get more stuff.
So basically, as per the usual pattern in the course of history, this is war on the poor. The poor people of this world are paying more for their goods so that richer people can be richer. So basically, I’m going to tear up my Air Miles card. It only has a couple of hundred miles on it. Good enough for a $10.00 rebate for gasoline for my next fill up. This after years of swiping it when buying gas and going to a certain pharmacy when I lived in Québec. It’s really not worth it for the hassle it causes me in getting constant e-mails from them and having to manage my account etc..
My Aeroplan card is another story. My siblings and I inherited the hundreds of thousands of Aeroplan points from my Mother from when she passed away and were going to forfeit all of them unless we paid to have them transferred to her children. So I had to engage in a lengthy and convoluted process of redeeming them for money, which cost, in the end, about $250.00 per sibling for each of us to get our points for one return flight on Air Canada anywhere in North America. So you can bet your bottom dollar I’m not going to forfeit that, because I paid for it.
But as soon as I redeem my $10.00 in gas, that’s it. No more Air Miles. And the day I redeem my one flight with Aeroplan, I’ll more than likely tear up that card as well. Too much hassle. On principle I think it’s constitutionally immoral. Forget it. I refuse to be ‘loyal’ to something which is essentially against my nature and which goes against the fundamental principles of spiritual humanity. I am not a being whose principle usefulness to the powers that be is predicated upon my greater propensity to consume goods and services. Sorry Charlie, but I am a Spirit in the Material World, and as such I am of the Light and was born to bear witness to the Light, and to this I am eternally Loyal. You can’t count that on any ‘points card’ buddy. But you can ‘redeem’ yourself with this system eternally. So there. Amen.