"Do you have a rewards card?" Don't we hear this nearly every time we make a purchase? And by rote we drone out our telephone number.  Rarely,  I get a small discount. After repeating my phone number for the fourth time recently while running errands, I thought what reward am I really getting? What is it about this routine that we think is of value? I think reward programs have sold us an inflated bill of goods.

I started looking at my receipts to see how being a rewards card holder was bettering my world -- 10 points of 10,000 needed to next reward. Whaat? At this rate I'll have to bequeath my points to my daughter to use after I die. Despite presenting my BevMo rewards card every time I make a purchase, I've yet to receive any reward or discount. This is one establishment that should have recognized me as a marquis customer. 

Not only do I have a wallet full of cards, I often have to put in multiple phone numbers to land on the right one. Is it my cell phone, my first ex-husband's landline number or the phone number before that? I can feel the customers behind me in line staring an irritated hole in me while I run through the list, all for just about nothing.

I have to recognize what a great marketing ploy and example of subliminal messaging rewards programs are but I think I'm done playing. I might even get a bit of secret pleasure answering 'no' the next time I'm asked for my rewards card. Individuality will be my reward.

Do you have a rewards card?