Ban All Loyalty Programs

This is real. If you get this tattoo, you get 20% off for life. What you deserve is far less than that.

This is real. If you get this tattoo, you get 20% off for life. What you deserve is far less than that.

‘If you have a rewards card, please swipe it now.’

‘You’re not a member. Would you like to be?’

‘The loyalty club comes with bonus points, an upgrade, vouchers and a free coffee. After you buy ten.’

‘You don’t want to join? You should join. It only takes a moment. You’re still not interested? Why not? (What’s wrong with you?)’

Let me explain why I have no interest in joining your scheme, club or program.

You cannot give me anything I want. If I wanted something else, I would have put it in my shopping basket, real or virtual, along with the other stuff.

You’re wasting my time. Filling out some form, and then receiving statements, getting told about ‘special’ offers, along with keeping track of membership cards and points. Trying to remember to spend my points before they expire. Which I never do. Which is another reason I no longer bother.

All those tasks eat into my leisure time, and that’s the type of time that I value the most highly. I might only earn $20 an hour, but my leisure time is worth at least $90 per hour. So loyalty program, pay me $90 per hour for my time or go away.

At one stage my wallet became so fat with receipts for cheap petrol, discounts and two for ones, coffee and loyalty cards that closing it was like trying to squeeze into my primary school pants. Don’t ask – I lost a bet, and only had them because I’m a hoarder. Anyway, I split those pants, just like I split my wallet.

The same pocket containing a morbidly obese wallet and key ring packed with loyalty tags can be a real hazard. Sit down too fast, and the wallet might push the keys through the pocket, stabbing you in the leg or much worse. That’s to me happened. The leg, not the worse.

We’re repeatedly told these loyalty schemes have been designed to save us money. Rubbish. They’re designed to make the company money, otherwise they wouldn’t bother.

With all the constant requests to join the program, and reminders of all the rewards, I’m made to feel like a fool for not being involved. Whenever I’ve given in and joined, I’m quickly reminded of the nothing that I’m missing out on.

When involved, instead of anything interesting, my head is filled with;

‘Did I remember that coffee card?’

‘Where’s that receipt for cheap petrol? I can’t believe I’ve forgotten it again.’

‘I need to book a flight. Where’s that Frequent Flyer card?’

After looking for half an hour and giving up, all I have is half an hour less of my precious leisure time.

Imagine working for one of these schemes. Do you think people like asking if you want to join? They know better than you do that it’s a complete waste of time. Being involved in these programs is not fulfilling for anyone, apart from the people at the top counting the profits.

So let’s make the whole lot of them illegal. No more member’s price, special price, club price, or points to get you a discount price. To attract more customers, just try making your stuff cheaper. For everyone.

Okay so that’s not going to happen, but one way we can all make these schemes disappear is by refusing to be involved. If they don’t have any members, they won’t exist.

So I’m starting a club.  There’s no membership fee, no special offers, and I will never contact you again. All you have to do to join is say ‘no’ to every other club. What do you get? More time for you. Spend it wisely. It’s worth at least $90 per hour.

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian. (

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