Whether I am drinking Diet Coke or eating Froot Loops for breakfast (only rarely at the same time), it seems that a new marketing trend has invaded my cupboard along with the weevils. The packaging of many common products are adorned with ‘points’ or some kind of reward coupon. If you save up enough of these bottle caps, hunks of cardboard, or torn wrappers, you can bundle them up and send off for, as the game shows say, ‘gifts and valuable prizes’.
Generally I am all for the idea of promoting brand loyalty and giving your ‘best’ customers something back. So while yes I’m appreciative of the chance to get something free, I am less excited about saving up little bags of trash and rebate forms all over the house. It is not that I am too ‘good’ for such activity, it is actually just because that extra stuff confuses me while wading through my normal household garbage in search of my car keys and wallet.
Now days, it seems that every recreational outing with the family ends up being a fishing trip for these stupid bottle cap points. For some odd reason my daughter seems embarrassed to be seen with me as I stick my head in garbage and tear up soda cartons like a mental midget. Amazingly, along with the soda cap points, there are LOTS of uneaten goodies in those trash cans, so I am kind of shocked it took so long for this trend to go main-stream. After all, didn’t every ‘Baby Boomer’ grow up with Dubble Bubble gum with collectable comics? I also used to have a pretty decent assortment of those Cracker Jack ‘spit’ tattoos where you would lick your arm and transfer that stinky-ink prize on to your skin.
At least now, prizes have moved past THAT valueless junk to some really great stuff like a cereal promotion that offers first-run DVD’s for your repeated patronage. The problem is, that ‘blockbuster’ movie literally is about construction people crushing rocks! Also, after saving Coca Cola points for months, you can get great magazine subscriptions to popular favorites like ‘Reader’s un-digested’ or “NewsWEAK”. If I’m lucky, I only need to drink another $80 worth of soda to get a colorful branded beach ball prize for only the cost of ‘shipping and handling’. One side of that ‘peachy’ ball demands in big letters - ‘Drink a Coke’ and on the other side, it says - ‘THINK, u Dope!’ Oh, don’t worry, isn’t it obvious – I’ll continue to do BOTH religiously!