There’s a really irritating advert for Nationwide on TV at the moment which involves a woman rabbiting on (vaguely in rhyme) about how she learnt about loyalty from her granny etc. To me loyalty is about what you owe to particular friends, family members and lovers. It doesn’t involve commercial concerns, although I suppose my son would say he is forever loyal to Chelsea FC (only for as long as they remain at the top of the league, I suspect). And loyalty certainly doesn’t involve supermarkets.
I have three loyalty cards: Nectar, Tesco and Waitrose. I’ve no idea if I have a balance on my Nectar card as I haven’t been to Sainsbury’s for ages. I got a few pounds in vouchers from Tesco recently – mainly because I use their petrol station. I haven’t been to Waitrose for yonks and am not sure if I still have the My Waitrose card. I think at some point I might have been given a M&S Sparks card but I’ve never used it. I haven’t got a Morrisons card and whenever I get asked if I want one, I say no. To be honest, I just can’t be faffed. I think loyalty cards only work if you are loyal (duh) to one shop and do all your shopping there – then you can build up lots of points. I’m just too much of a tart, bestowing my custom on a range of shops. I certainly don’t earn anything like the average £112 a year Britons apparently get from their loyalty cards – and the typical number of cards held per Briton is five. The research from cashback website TopCashback* says that 86% of people save up their points and 41% used this accumulated wealth to pay for Christmas. It would be a poor kind of festive celebration if we had to rely on loyalty points to fund it.
I do know of people who’ve got flights from their airline loyalty cards, have had amazing days out thanks to Tesco Clubcard etc. But I’m not one of them. My loyalty is more likely to be earned if a shop offers a good, all round deal. Indeed, the usual decider on where I do the weekly shop is if they’ve got the very expensive cat food our pets insist on. Cats are notoriously disloyal, lavishing their attentions on whoever feeds them. Providing the catty version of caviar is the only way they stay loyal to me.