Loyalty Card

  1. Plastic filler product for wallets and key chains
  2. Empowering opportunity for shoppers

Usage Example: “If you sign up for the bowling alley’s free loyalty card, every tenth frame is 10% off.”

Background: Americans have problems. American wallets are too thin and American key chains are way too empty. Thankfully, every single retail store in the country is helping to remedy this problem.

It all started with grocery stores. Customers interested in paying reasonable prices for groceries have to agree to carry around a piece of plastic with a store logo on it.

The process of obtaining these pieces of plastic is simple. Stores collect your name, address, phone number, email address, driving records, medical records and the names of your family and friends. In exchange for handing over this information, stores graciously give you the option of carrying around a card in your wallet, or a stubby and soon to be filthy chunk of plastic to hang on your key chain. By presenting these chunks of plastic at the point of sale, stores agree to allow customers to pay normal prices for groceries. If you fail to carry around the store’s chunk of plastic, you must be penalized by paying artificially inflated prices for products.

After grocery stores successfully convinced millions of people to carry around their plastic filler products, every other store followed suit. You are now compelled to carry loyalty cards for pharmacies, gas stations, movie theaters, ice cream stores and lemonade stands.

Smart shoppers are encouraged to create their own loyalty cards. Simply tape your picture to a piece of plastic and present it to a retail outlet. If that store refuses to show it to you whenever you shop, inform them that you will pay half-price for all items. This plan is guaranteed to work almost 1% of the time.

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Yard Sale

  1. The process of spending a week carefully categorizing and pricing items that will all ultimately sell for 25¢ each
  2. A tedious way of making $67
  3. A long, complicated pit-stop for junk on its way to the landfill

Usage Example: “Do you think 75¢ will be enough to get a living room set at the yard sale?”

Background: Many people decide to remove junk from their homes through excessive and complicated acts of torture. These acts include:

  1. Spending at least a week carefully selecting, cleaning and organizing junk
  2. Spending many hours researching values and assigning prices to the junk that will ultimately be ignored by everyone
  3. Spending a Saturday in the rain, watching carefully priced and organized junk sit in a driveway
  4. Giving the priced and organized junk one final ride to Goodwill or the landfill

When these acts of torture are combined, they form a process known as a “yard sale.”

A major challenge of holding a yard sale is dealing with yard sale negotiations. Yard sale negotiations generally follow the same pattern. Here is an example:

Buyer: “How much for the recliner?”

Seller: “Twenty-five dollars.”

Buyer: “I’ll give you a quarter for it.”

Seller: “I’ll take $20, but I can’t really go much lower than that.”

Buyer: “I have a quarter.”

Seller: “It’s late in the day… I’ll take $10 for it.”

Buyer: “Will you take a quarter?”

Seller: “Seriously? It’s a piece of furniture… How about $5?”

Buyer: “I have a pickup truck and can haul it away right now. I’ll give you a quarter for it.”

Seller: “Fine. A quarter.”

There are easier ways to dispatch excess junk, but only a yard sale can turn your junk into 52 hours of work and a cool $73.

Oil Change

  1. Trip to a metal and cinder block depression chamber
  2. Effective weight loss program for wallets

Usage Example: “The oil change place says that I need a new JQB valve. It could be expensive.”

Background:  Some people choose to change their own automotive oil. This process is relatively simple and inexpensive. However, it can also be messy and time consuming. This is why many people choose to get their oil changed at a quick-service oil change facility.

Upon driving to the back of an oil change facility, the customer is greeted by a technician. The technician welcomes him and asks him if he wants to upgrade to the fully synthetic, fully expensive motor oil. After declining the Champagne of motor oils, the customer is led into a cramped waiting room to watch Judge Mathis and drink burnt coffee while he nervously waits for the results of the oil change.

The waiting room is tense. After a few minutes, the technician summons the customer. The customer then walks to his car to receive the bad news. The technician shows the customer an air filter speckled with a few molecules of dust and warns the customer about the dangers of driving with a dirty air filter. The technician then generally points under the hood of the car and mentions that a belt is cracked and needs to be replaced. He also tells the customer about his bad JQB valve and lets him know that they have one in stock.

At this point, the customer agrees to have the work done, and is led back into the waiting room. The customer spends the next 15 minutes pretending to look at Field and Stream while the technicians get back to work. They change the air filter and belt while pretending that a JQB valve actually exists.

They then place a sticker on the customer’s windshield, explain that his coupon is only good on Wednesday mornings, lighten his wallet and send him on his way.

Credit Card Rewards

  1. Arcade tickets for adults
  2. Rewards program that failed geography class

Usage Example: “Why does my credit card rewards program think that Los Angeles is 25,000 miles away from New York?”

Background: As children, many of us would go the arcade and happily spend $50 in quarters to win an armload of tickets. At that time, approximately 10,000 tickets would win a pencil. In spite of this fact, and for some unexplained reason, we were excited about the prospect of spending 50x the value of an item in order to “win” it. We would stare longingly at the 20-year-old, dusty, handheld television – knowing that we wouldn’t live long enough to earn the 20,000,000 tickets that it would take to bring it home.

Credit card companies understand that humans never outgrow this insane way of thinking, so they happily offer arcade tickets to adults in the form of “credit card rewards”. Want that $25 Applebees gift card? Spend $18,000 to get it. Interested in that set of golf clubs? It will only take 980 years to earn them.

Are you interested in cashing in your credit card airline miles? If so, it’s time to learn some “credit card geography”. If you live in New York, you might assume that 6,000 credit card miles could get you a round-trip ticket to the west coast. However, you might be surprised to learn that most credit card companies think that New York is approximately 25,000 miles from Los Angeles.

In order to maintain one’s sanity and financial security, it is important to fight this organized manipulation. Now, it’s time for me to hit Amazon… I’m only 50,000 points away from my Beats headphones.