A few years ago I read an article in the Globe about “Loyalty Programs” (you know, Airmiles, Aeroplan, various customer points plans) in which the executives of these plans admitted that they operate on the expectation that only about 80% of the rewards are ever claimed. In other words, they want you to spend your money to get points, but never redeem them. It’s a pretty clever, if shady, plan, since if you go to Airmiles sites, they seem to always be promoting something that is just out of your points reach. In other words, with these “loyalty” programs, the loyalty runs one way. The company is not out to treat you well; they’re banking on you being manipulated into continuing to save, rather than cash in your points. And don’t be fooled: companies that give you points have paid for them, so the loyalty plan companies are making money, even more money when you don’t use your points.
It was then and there that I began cashing in my points. Not for flying (that is a total scam, because not only are the number of seats on any flight limited, but the other taxes and so on diminish the thrill of getting something for free). Rather, I began to order stuff. I got a Wii, a camera for KEL, and a number of other things like gift cards and movie passes. I like the latter especially because I can continue to do my duty as a consumer in a capitalist society, but not accumulate more stuff.
The great thing about this is, unlike the travel fees and taxes scam, when Airmiles sends me a product I ordered, it comes via UPS, with free shipping. In other words, it has no additional costs at all. Not even taxes.
Yesterday I received my most recent “reward.” A big 6 Quart slow cooker. It has a temperature probe to put into thick roasts and stuff I won’t cook in it, and some nice features like a timer, and a feature that keeps the dish warm after the cooking time is over. It even comes with a new spoon. It’s more “stuff” (and I’m not sure where I’m going to store it) that is well worth it.
Why am I writing about this today? Well, along with canning and brewing, I like to cook when I can. Soup, stew and other dishes are brilliant when you can prepare them in advance, turn the pot on in the morning, and let it cook all day. Flavours blend, and the meal is ready when you get home. Stress free.
Of course, I’m not exactly living the fast-paced high stress lifestyle. but I do like to combine my cooking. If I can make supper one evening and prepare the ingredients for the supper for the next evening, life is good. And if I can put the remainder into jars for later, life is even better.
I’ll talk about that tomorrow.