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My time abroad: loyalty cards part II — EuroSpar

My original post about loyalty cards missed the supermarkets that I’m actually using nowadays, because they are conveniently located just behind my building (for one) and right on the way back home from my office (for the other). Both of them are part of the EuroSpar chain and have the added convenience of being open respectively 247 and 7-22.

Mangled bill from EuroSpar

So, when I originally asked the store if they had any loyalty card, I was told they didn’t. I checked the website anyway and found the name of their loyalty program, which is “SuperEasy”, and the next time, I asked about it explicitly, and they gave me the card and a form to fill in; after filling almost all of it, I found that I could also do it online, so I trashed the paper form. They can’t get my name right anywhere here when I spell it.

On the website, strangely enough they even accept my surname as it should be, wow that’s a miracle, I thought… until I went to use the card at the shop and got back the bill that you see on the left. Yes that’s UTF-8 converted to some other 8-bit codepage which is not Latin-1. Indeed it reminds me of CP850 at the time of MS-DOS. Okay I give up, but the funniest part was getting the bill tonight, the one on the right.

The other mangled bill from EuroSpar

But beside them mangling my name in many different possible ways, is there anything that makes EuroSpar special enough for me to write a follow-up post on a topic that I don’t really care about or, honestly, have experience in? Yes of course. Compared with the various rewards I have been talking about last time, this seems to be mostly the same: one point per euro spent, and one cent per point redeemed.

The big difference here is that the points are accrued to the cent, rather than to the lower euro threshold! Not too shabby, considering that unlike Dunnes they do not round their prices to full euros most of the time. And the other one is that even though they have a single loyalty scheme for all the stores.. the cards are per-store, or so they proclaim. The two here are probably owned by the same person so they are actually linked and they work on each.

Another interesting point is that while both EuroSpar host an Insomnia café, neither accept Insomnia’s own loyalty card (ZapaTag) — instead they offer something similar in the sense that you get the 10th drink free. A similar offer is present at the regular Insomnia shops, but there, while you can combine the 10th drink offer with the ZapaTag points, you cannot combine it with other offers such as my usual coffee and brownie for €3,75 (the coffee alone is €3,25 while the brownie is €2,25)… at EuroSpar instead this is actually combinable, but of course if I use the free coffee while getting a brownie, I still have to pay almost as much as the coffee.. but sometimes I can skip on the pastry.

So yes, I think it was worth noting the differences about EuroSpar. And as a final note I’ll just say that even the pharmacy on the way to work has a loyalty card… and it’s the usual discount one, or as they call it “PayBack Card”. I have to see what Tesco does, but they somehow blacklisted my apartment in their delivery service.

Comments 4
  1. When will we see your follow up post on the privacy issues of letting these loyalty cards track your purchasing habits? 😉

  2. You could offer your services to fix their character management issues!Or, you could threaten to sue them because you are offended by the way they distorted your surname (you could claim is a bad/degrading word in Italian)

  3. Richard, I’m afraid my current job pays better than trying to fix Spar’s database :PDaniel, probably never in the sense you expect it to be. Because I don’t believe it’s a privacy issue to begin with.So they track my purchasing habits. Okay, what then? They’ll know that I drink 10L of milk a week, and then? They’ll start send me discounts for milk and other dairies? Great! I can use some of those.

  4. You’re thinking to short here. Buying habits reveal a lot of your life. Regularly purchasing alcohol and buying in the wrong neighbourhoods will certainly decrease your score to get loans. This is just the beginning, your buying habits can put you into groups/classes of people with similar buying habits and further information about these people will also be attributed to you and vice versa, even if you just use loyalty cards and reveal nothing further about your life. It’s also not about making you offers that suit your buying habits, this information is probably sold to whomever they can. I recently read a job offering on data mining from a major German cross company loyalty card provider on data mining and analytics. They run their loyalty programmes for about 15 years, so they probably figured out everything they can about your buying habits to incentivize purchases with gifts and discounts and are now expanding to other markets. This is just the beginning, you don’t know what they do and do not behind closed doors (I may sound hysterical, but there’s something true about ti). Just look at the US credit card industry.

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