This is a little of a deviation from my normal posts, but even so I think that this is a great idea and I hope that soon, someone with more time than me runs with it, because I believe that it could make a massive difference.
Inspired By Coffee
A few months ago while standing in line at Costa Coffee with my friend Mel waiting for a fresh brew, I was watching the people in front of us getting served, paying and moving on, when this idea came to me. At the time I mentioned the idea to my friend and she agreed that it was actually very good idea.
It wasn’t until this weekend when I was visiting a good friend of mine, John, on the South Coast, that this idea once again came to me. This time John and I discussed the concept a little deeper and trying to work out the logistics of whole process. Funnily enough I was once again in Costa (honest I don’t spend all my life in Costa! It must be the coffee that inspired me).
It would seem that most shops (in the UK at least) have some form of loyalty card, be this the stores own card, such as the Costa Card or the Boots Advantage Card, or some subscribe to linked schemes like Nectar Cards.
If you don’t know what loyalty cards are they are a way of collecting points with every purchase that you make, as your balance of points grow they can be exchanged for goods or in some cases cash, but most often it’s goods.
Most financial advisers and money experts will tell you that these loyalty cards are a must have, as you basically get something for nothing, and I know of a great many people who have a wallet or purse full of them. However there are also a large number of people, like myself, who for one reason or another don’t have any loyalty cards.
As I stood in the queue waiting for my coffee I noticed the number of people who didn’t have a Costa Card and so didn’t collect their entitled points. This made me think what happens to all those lost loyalty points, those loyalty points that are never even collected? Well, it would seem that they just go ‘puff’ and vanish, lost forever.
These lost loyalty points could amount to a sizable amount over a month or a year.
My idea is this; when you reach the pay point and the cashier asks you if you have a loyalty card, and if like me you don’t, the points are lost. How about if the cashier were to ask those who do not have a loyalty card if they wished to donate their points to charity! Simple, if you’re not collecting the points then someone should benefit from them, so why not a charity?
Implementing such a scheme would not necessarily be that straightforward as many of these stores already donate to good causes and it would also require the staff to swipe a ‘shop’ or ‘charity’ loyalty card or monitor those transactions that are not accompanied by a loyalty card. That said it wouldn’t be impossible nor would it be prohibitively costly, it would just take a little re-jigging of the way things are processed at the checkout.
All that these unwanted points do at the minute is add to the profits of the companies involved, I have to assume that these companies have calculated into their costs the fact that potentially everyone could have a loyalty card so theoretically these companies will not lose out. In fact if marketed correctly a scheme of this nature could actually benefit those companies who would be prepared to participate.
As most schemes actually offer goods in exchange for those collected loyalty points, I don’t see these companies converting points to cash for charities but that doesn’t stop them donating what goods they offer in return for the points donated by their customers. I’m sure that a hot drink from Costa on a cold evening would be warmly received by any homeless person, or food from the supermarket loyalty schemes or clothes from the department store loyalty schemes, and so it goes on.
Anyone Want To Run With This?
As I say I don’t have the time to explore this idea fully with my impending travels, but I do think that it’s such a good idea and so many could benefit, who currently don’t, from the simple donation of your unwanted loyalty points.
Please, if you have the time and/or inclination to explore this further be my guest, that is the very reason that I am sharing this with you, because I just don’t at the moment, but I’m sure that someone out there will, is it you?