March 17, 2012

No Countdown Thomas Knives For Me

I read this article and had a laugh to myself last night.

$7500 for an Abba CD: Bank reward schemes take a while to pay off

Credit card holders must spend up to $20,000 to reap a $100 reward through loyalty schemes at New Zealand banks.

Most high street banks give customers points or reward dollars for every dollar they spend, which can be redeemed through partner stores and businesses.

But a consumer expert is warning "consumer beware" when it comes to joining such schemes.

An informal survey by APNZ revealed most banks' schemes had changed little in recent years, with standard card holders having to spend between $50 and $150 to earn a single reward point or dollar.

Standard Kiwibank credit card holders earned one Air New Zealand airpoints dollar for every $150 spent. Platinum card holders had to spend $90.

A flight from Auckland to Queenstown was available today for 99 airpoints dollars, meaning a standard card holder would need to spend $14,850 to pay for the trip. A $79 flight from Christchurch to Nelson would require a spend of $11,850.

ASB customers earn one True Reward dollar each time they spend $100 to $150, depending on their card.

A platinum card customer would need to spend $10,000 to receive $100 in True Rewards points. A gold card holder would need to spend $13,000 and a classic card holder $20,000.

The dollars can be spent at partner retailers including House of Travel, Farmers and Noel Leeming, or gifted to charity.

A $55 toaster would require a credit card spent of $5500-$8250 and a $599 LCD television, $59,900-$89,850.

An ANZ National spokesman said their loyalty scheme changed in November 2010, with the "earn rate" for standard card holders improving from one airpoint dollar for every $150 spent to one for every $145 spent.

Platinum card holders had to spend $80 instead of $90.

The bank also offered schemes to earn goods or cash back with the National Bank Thoroughbred card. Users earn 1 per cent cashback subject to a minimum spend amount.

BNZ classic Visa or MasterCard customers earn one Fly Buys point for every $50 they spend. Gold American Express card holders get one for every $20 they spend.

Fly Buys members currently need 150 points to get Abba's greatest hits CD - a credit card spend of $7500 for classic card holders.

A report released in Australia this week said credit card holders at the country's big four banks had to spend more than $18,000 to earn a $100 shopping voucher.

The Reserve Bank of Australia quarterly bulletin said that was equal to a 0.54 per cent benefit to the customer as a proportion of spending.

Auckland University consumer expert David Shief said customers should "look before they leap" when considering joining a loyalty scheme.

"Companies have tried all sorts of schemes to reward customers - it's very common across industries.

"I've no doubt that rebates for loyalty schemes alter their perception of value. Is there a trick in it?," he said.

Rewards offered as incidental benefits from respected organisations could generally be trusted, but consumers also needed to decide if what they were getting was value for money, said Mr Shief.

Us consumers are so thick sometimes.

Back in 1996 when Fly Buys first started up - i applied for my card and for two years that little bit of plastic dictated where i shopped, filled up my car, bought insurance etc etc etc.

It was around 1998 when after over two years of spending roughly two hundred bucks a week at New World - even though i preferred Foodtown, and filling up at Shell even though the BP station was often cheaper and on my direct route to and from work - that my ex husband and i had to make a trip to Palmerston North for a family wedding.

After spending over thirty thousand dollars at Fly Buys' participating outlets I phoned them to enquire if we had enough points to be able to redeem them for a free night in a hotel during that trip.

The answer was no. After spending over 30 k we did not even have enough points to be able to redeem them for a night in a hotel - in a city - that John Cleese has described as a good place visit in order to commit suicide.

I chucked out my Fly Buys card as soon as i hung up the phone and have felt nothing but irritation every single time i have been asked that annoying question "Do you have Fly Buys?" - ever since. At first i would explain to the cashiers exactly why i do not have Fly Buys. After a few years, i stopped explaining. It just wasn't getting through.

The latest silly thing that i have fallen for is the Thomas Knife / sticker collecting promotion that Countdown has going on until the end of April. It started back in February. For every $20 you spend you get a little blue sticker. I need new knives. In fact - i just need knives full stop. My knife set accidentally got left behind in a drawer in my Mt Albert flat. Due to being unable to leave my home at the time thanks to a pesky ankle bracelet - i was unable to return to get them. I have had to make do with what did make it to my new place for the last two years - which has been pretty crappy.

I want new knives - so i started collecting these little blue stickers. I have even at times, added the odd chocolate bar - or whatever catches my eye at the check out - to my shopping in order to get my total over that $20 that is required to get my little blue sticker.

When it began back in the beginning of February - three months to collect enough stickers to get the whole set seemed like enough time. It is only now, in mid March that i have added up just how many stickers, and how much i will need to spend in order to get the whole set will be.

I will need to spend $4500 at Countdown in order to get a set of knives.

No Thomas Knives for me.

My thick self is chucking out my collection of effing blue stickers. Right. Now.


Mr Mister said...

Ha ha ha...

I still get asked 'Do you have fly Buys ?' and the answer is always nope.

I've been living in Palmy for five years now and I haven't heard of many suicides during that time. I live about a kilometre from the rubbish dump so affectionately named after John Cleese.

If you never need to make a trip to Palmerston North again, let me know :)

Jacqueline said...

Haha - I actually like Palmerston North.

I just added that bit in to my description of what i was not entitled to after spending 30k - for effect. ;)

Suz said...

You're not missing out on a big spender there, I've redeemed enough for 2 knives and they're both crap :0

Jacqueline said...

Thanks Suz!

That makes me feel so much better. I have had my heart set on the whole set sitting nicely in their block on my kitchen counter - ever since the promotion started.

I don't feel so disappointed now! Think i will just go to Briscoes and invest 50 bucks in the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Put the stickers on trademe. People are actually buying them there. not kidding.

Jacqueline said...

Oh my gosh. I don't believe you! lol

Anonymous said...

What? Why would you throw them out. I don't think people are even encouraged to try and get the whole set. Most people are happy to get the small knife after spending $600 after 3 months ($50 a week). Others spend more than that and can get a bigger knife, and then start collecting again for a smaller knife, or for the really big spenders, another one of the larger knifes.

People can choose whether they want to "add a chocolate bar" to their groceries to get them up to $20/40/60 etc. If they're happy to get one stamp after spending $39.00, then that's fine, it's their choice!

You can't really complain about something that IS free IF you go about your shopping AS NORMAL.

Christopher said...

I have just collected my small Japanese style knife. I more than happy with it.

Anonymous said...

Your loss guys. I shop where I like and where suits me at the time. I just collected a free Santoku knife from Countdown - love it. AS good as my German knife. All I had to do was collect a few stamps in my wallet. recon it is equivalent to being paid $200 an hour for my effort by Countdown. Also wiped my food town card so will get a few dollars voucher in the mail sometime. Used my aiport visa so will collect a bunch of airpoints for free at the end of the month. And if I shop at New world or participating service stations I get airpoints from my flyby airpoints card. recon I get about $50 a month for carrying a few cards and with really no effort and no impact on my shopping habits. As for the knives - happy with mine - I recon you would get one equivalent at Briscoes for $50. Why not get it for free? Cynics are losing out.

Lilibeth said...

Hmm, isn't the real marginal cost you spent to get the knives the cost of the chocolate bar you throw in. You buy food anyways (I really hope so), so the only extra costs is the bar.

Anonymous said...

I always laugh when I hear people talking about how much something costs when they use a loyalty card etc. If you change your shopping habits merely to get more points/stickers, then yes, the rewards are costing you money, but if your shopping habits stay the same and you happily accept the points/stamps then the reward is free. Do the math, it's simple. I buy $300 groceries a week, regardless whether or not there is a knife promotion. If I happen to get a free knife or 2 for shopping in the same place and spending the same amount then the knife is definately a free bonus.

Jacqueline said...

I laugh every time someone makes a comment on this post - 5 weeks after i originally wrote it.

People out there are seriously googling the phrase - Countdown Thomas Knives!


Anonymous said...

LOL the thing is though the whole set probably cost less than $100. I think countdown just overpriced them and made people go crazy. After the promotion ends, the large Santoku knife is probably just gonna cost you $15 instead of $80

Jacqueline said...

I agree - the retail prices they stated were crazy.

I digress though - i ended up being able to get two for free with the number of stickers that i had collected by the end of the promotion and they are quite good knives.

Well compared to what i had anyway - which was pretty crappy. I really noticed the difference while cutting the roast tonight.

AngieBax said...

I got caught up in the Countdown stickers for knives craze:) I now only need 5 more stickers for the small knife. Of course I can't get stickers any more, so if you still have any unwanted stickers, please send 5 my way:):):)

Jacqueline said...

I do have 5! In fact i have like ten that i can do nothing with now.

They are all yours if you want them!

AngieBax said...

Hey sorry, hope I didn't freak you out asking for your address:) I'm not some psycho trying to find out where you live I promise, just didn't want it to cost you anything for doing me a favour:) If you are serious about letting me have the stamps & aren't happy to give out your address & don't mind paying the $ for a stamp then please send to Angie Baxter, PO Box 39149, Christchurch. Much appreciated:)

Jacqueline said...

Hey Angie - all good! I just have a few things going on right that make me hesitant to give out my address to anyone. :-)

Will pop them in the post in the next couple of days.

To anyone else that has spare and useless stickers - send them to Angie!

Hope you enjoy the knives. They are pretty good - but then i am not used to using expensive or good knives.


AngieBax said...

I can fully understand, you don't know who people are:) Hey thanks heaps, I look forward to getting them in the mail:) I hate to be pushy but they have to be redeamed by Sunday so don't take too long & if there is anything I can do in return let me know:) Yay, it really will be a free knife as I made sure I didn't buy anything extra just to get stamps:) I would have kept buying & got a whole set otherwise:)

Jacqueline said...

Oh Shoot - i thought you had until the end of the month.

Will get them in the post tomorrow morning.


AngieBax said...

Thanks heaps, your awesome:)

Pecka said...

I spend aprox same amount each week at countdown, the knive,s are good, and guess what I got the whole set, nice.. I did however have to sharpen the big kitchen knife to my liking.

Jacqueline said...

Pecka - you lucky thing. Every time i get out one of my small ones - i think about how lovely it would have been to get the whole set and the block as well!

I'm jealous!

Angie - posted them this afternoon. You should get them tomorrow!

AngieBax said...

Nice going Pecka:) I wonder if there were many others who managed the same?

Thanks Jacqueline, your very ,kind:):)

AngieBax said...

Stickers received & small knife picked up:) Thanks so very much Jacqueline, it is a very cool knife & I already have the sharpener to keep it sharp:) Thanks once again:):) I think these loyalty schemes are good as long as you don't get sucked into spending more than you normally would to get the benefits.

Jacqueline said...

Glad you received them Angie!

I was thinking about it over the weekend and hoping you received the stickers in time!

I guess you are right. As long as you don't change your habits there is nothing to lose really.

My deal though - is that i do change my habits in an effort to get something for free and then it ends up not really being free at all. ;)

Enjoy your knife. I quite like mine too. :-)