by phoxis

Got a free coffee from the cafe. This is the first time I have been able to get something free using a loyalty card. The card had 10 boxes, each time one buys a coffee, one box gets stamped, the 10th one is free. It was pure joy when I didn’t have to pass the money along with the card, but, I was walking out with a cup of coffee. (The picture of the below card is the new one).


Previously I got a a similar card from Nando’s. The loyalty card looks like something like the below image. Note that the number 3 box is not stamped, but number 4 box is stamped. This is because I was greedy, and planned to get the 1/4 chicken as well as the 1/2 and the whole chicken in consecutive visits, by getting the 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 box stamped first, next redeeming the 3, 6, and 10 boxes.

Though the plan was fine. I and my friend planned to visit Nando’s and actually get our free 1/4 chicken instead of waiting for getting all the boxes stamped. But, what happened was, when we went to the location, at Bangalore (India), the Church street shop was not there! It was either temporarily or permanently closed! Though we went to some other place that day, but later some other day saw that another restaurant was opened at it’s place. This was pretty bad, as I still have the card and could’t even get the first free thing.


I had a Speciality Group of Restaurants card, where points accumulate as you buy. The restaurants Mainland China, Oh! Calcutta, Sigree, Cafe Mezzuna, Flame and Grill etc. comes under this group. Once I went to Mainland China restaurant (long long ago) then they took my address and sent me the card. The card was sent inside a big box, containing interesting discount coupons and gift vouchers, a book and ofcourse the card. But close inspection uncovered the fact that all the coupons were expired already ( very bad, Speciality Group of Restaurant, very bad ) . Anyways, I had some points with which I could get some good amount of discount on the next bill. On one of the later visits I accumulated some more points. Now, you all know, it is impossible to carry these many cards, because each and every shop push you for their cards with which you get a very little discount (though some of my friends tell it’s not like that always).

They kept on mailing me about my account and how much points I have in it. They kept on extending the deadline for the last date of using up the points. One fine day, they mailed and the points actually lapsed. Though it did not have any effect on me, I just moved the mail to an appropriate directory (label). I still have the card somewhere lying around.

There are other few incidents, where I or one of my friends forgot bring a loyalty card or have lost that card or forgot to mention the phone number linked to the card so that they can credit the account.

On the other hand, where I required a full loyalty card, I didn’t get any. I used to be in one of the coffee chain named Barista, once a day at least to get my daily dose. They didn’t offer anything the two years, when I was leaving for good, they signed me up with my phone number as I was “a loyal customer”. Starbucks wanted to push me a loyalty card with the same logic, though I declined their offer.

There are fashion stores, grocery stores and all kinds of stores who push for the cards. Nowadays, if they insist, I give them my friends’ phone numbers so that they get the points. This reminds me that my friend bought me a t-shit redeeming his points from his card.

I have stopped getting into this card stuffs because they are too much to maintain. But I was buying the coffee from this cafe once or twice a day, therefore it did not had much overhead. And at last I have achieved it, walking out with a cup of free coffee.

When I came back to my desk, I calculated what is the actual discount I got when compared to the Insomnia coffee machines installed in the student’s union shop 100 meters away. The student’s union cafe sold the 2 Euro coffee for 1.5 Euros, which makes it a 25% discount. The other one gave 1 free if you buy 9 of 2 Euros each, making it a 10% discount. And it’s basically the same coffee (nothing special or fancy).


So, there we are. Loyalty.