Hi, my name is Lisa and I'm a promoholic. So when a local grocery store began giving away "Power Pump Rewards" simply for buying my regular groceries, I was hooked.
I got a cute new "ATM card" that automatically loaded money. For every $100 I spent, I was rewarded with $1.50 on my card. Sure, I had to meet a minimum, but with three growing kids, that wasn't difficult. In the end, I was rewarded with almost an entire tank of gas at a station plentiful in the area.
We have two big box stores in town, the gas giver being the shabby one in need of an extreme makeover. But I shopped to earn gas. Heck, the hoity-toity market down the street wasn't even offering double coupons!
I was thrilled Tuesday when my receipt showed I had ACCUMULATED $46.08 towards my NEXT Power Pump Reward. Another full tank--and then some, I beamed.
Yes, I know you all can see the ASTERISK....coming. Why I didn't, I'll attribute to a lack of sleep and the thrill of shopping victory. Of course, when I asked for my card, they told me to call customer service. And here's what I learned:
SURPRISE! The program has "changed." Now, when I use my club card, I get a whopping 10¢ off per gallon every $100 I spend (not including a whole bunch of items I regularly buy like milk). And, the promo ends June 20.
Let's do the math: I spend about $100/week on groceries. Let's say $85 is eligible for the rewards. Bewteen April 1 and June 20, I will spend about $935. Assuming there are no further restrictions (I don't see any listed), I will earn $.90 off a gallon by June 17.
But now, the nearest eligible gas station--owned by the grocery store-- is 20 miles each way. My SUV gets 14 mpg at best, and takes 25 gallons to fill. The average price of gas today is $2.34 a gallon. The price with my Power Pump Rewards would be $1.45 a gallon, or $36.25 to fill up a tank that would usually cost $58.75. I'm saving $22.50 tank, minus the costs of travel of $6.71 in gas. The total savings would be $15.79.
Not too shabby EXCEPT the marketing execs forgot to factor in Los Angeles traffic. It will take me about one hour, even in light traffic, to get to the closest eligible station. My time is worth more than $15.79 an hour.
Today, I need groceries. Lots of them. And guess what? I'm changing to a third store in the area that offers double coupons on top of weekly specials and club card savings. I bet I can save more than $15.79 a TRIP there!