This week Starbucks announced changes to their rewards program. What does it mean?
Don’t worry. I’m here to break it down brevity-style. No, not breve. Starbucks “baristas” don’t know that word.
Why the change? According to Starbucks Newsroom official website it was done “based on the #1 customer request” to have more stars. In other words, you asked for this. Look what you made us do!
In the way back I’d heard about Starbucks stars. I drank there when it was in my face and I wanted coffee so I enthusiastically figured, “What the hell?” I signed up and gave it a try.
Tickmaster is a website service that sells tickets. (Yes, this is a bona fide typo but I’m not fixing it. -Ed.) They offer a “fan guarantee” chock full of neat-o sounding stuff. I just looked and only counted three fine print asterisks on a bulleted list of eight items. Certain exceptions apply.
Wow. Is that a festive and fun fan guarantee or what?
Some people who purchased tickets through the official Ticketmaster website may have been signed up for a “rewards” program that costs $9 a month. According to Consumerist.com, the attorney for the plaintiffs in a suit against Ticketmaster claimed 93% of program participants never redeemed a single coupon.
This week Ticketmaster settled a $23 million lawsuit alleging that customers were signed up for the program without realizing it costed $9 month which was charged to the same credit cards used to make ticket purchases.
The settlement has been approved by a U.S. District Court judge and, it goes without saying, Ticketmaster did not admit any wrongdoing. Like me, apparently they love to pay $23 million to make problems go away. Hell, I’m always out doing that. Perhaps that’s one reason why I don’t have a lot of money on me. You know my motto. “Never leave home without $23 million.”
The average rewards member lost about $72 because it apparently took about eight months for them to notice the mysterious recurring charge on their statements. “Hey. What’s this giant sucking sound in my account?”
About 1.2 million people who signed up between September 2004 and June 2009 are eligible to file claims as part of the settlement and could receive up to $30. What the hell, it only went on for almost five years. That’s a pretty good run in ecommerce circles.
This sort of thing reminds me of the time my wife booked travel plans from a snarky gnome and we got hit with similar “membership” charges. To this day we don’t know what benefits were part of the program. They never told us.
With all this in mind, I am pleased to announce the new Gigantor Abyss Rewards Program (GARP). According to the world of GARP you provide your credit card information and I respond with a personalized notice of acceptance. The guru will fee you now and, as an added bonus, there’s no waiting room. Membership has its snivileges.
There is a person I know who described himself as a Christian. No, this isn’t the same person I blogged about before when I talked about Fake Christians: Meet my boss. This time I’m talking about someone else. Let us call him Ignatz.
I always thought Ignatz was fairly on the up and up. He had some good points but also some troubling ones. (He’s one of those feisty overly aggressive looking out for #1 sorts. Which is yet another planned blog topic on my radar.) He became a Christian a bit later in life and has a somewhat checkered past.
We’d chit chat about religion from time to time and I generally liked his perspective. We’d talk about the God Hates Shrimp web site (a site that I truly adore), the book of Leviticus, and the fact that when Jesus died for our sins that basically rendered much of the “old laws” in the Old Testament mute.
Even as an atheist I could mostly grok the funky beats that Ignatz was laying down.
Then, the other day, Ignatz decided to share a story with me. I’m going to call it the Book of Staples. Verily, hear my testimony.
Ignatz had a coupon good for a $22 cash credit at Staples. I believe it was earned through his company’s participation in the Staples “rewards” program. Ignatz gave the boss the code and the $22 was redeemed by the boss through the Staples web site.
Now, Ignatz knew damn well the code had already been redeemed, but took the coupon with him on his next trip to Staples anyway. I still can’t believe Ignatz had the balls to tell me about this. Ignatz goes to checkout and hands over his stuff and the coupon. The clerk scans the coupon and says, “Hmm. It’s coming up invalid.”
Ignatz: “That’s weird. Can you give it another try?”
Beep. “Yep, it’s definitely invalid.”
Ignatz: “Darn. I was really counting on that discount. Otherwise I don’t have enough cash on me to make this purchase.” (This part of the story is actually true.)
Clerk: “I apologize for the mix up. I’ll go ahead and override. There ya go. Thank you for shopping at Staples.”
As Ignatz related this story to me, he sort of stuttered, hemmed and hawed when he saw the stunned and disapproving look on my face. “Jesus says it’s okay.” My stunned look grew impossibly bigger. “Since he died for our sins anything we do is already justified.”
WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT!
I was incredulous. “What about that Top Ten list that Moses brought down from the mountain?” I asked. “Wasn’t there a wee tidbit about stealing in there? Perhaps something about your neighbor’s oxen or donkeys or something the fuck like that?”
Now I’m no Biblical scholar, but I believe that Ignatz then threw some Bible verse at me to justify his actions. I believe it was Romans 3:24 (but I could be wrong, I really was quite stunned at the time) that he spewed at me which reads:
… and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
I’m very disappointed, but not overly surprised, by Ignatz. 😦