I’m trying not to develop a Nectar Card obsession

Retailer loyalty schemes don’t work ? research shows that they attract ‘card collectors’ who are, by definition, loyal to no one ? or to everyone, which amounts to the same thing (how many loyalty cards do you have in your wallet?). They produce oceans of largely redundant data that can only be processed at margin-sapping expense ? Asda, super-lean subsidiary of Walmart, has no scheme at all, thank you.

Worse, they’re poor value for customers and intrusive ? the practically Orwellian mantra ‘Do you have a Nectar Card?’, which you can now hear in about a dozen major stores (Nectar is a ‘multi-brand’ loyalty scheme) is obviously driving lots of people up the wall ? I’ve actually sold a few of these ‘No. I do not have a Nectar Card’ t-shirts (I’m giving the profit to UNHCR) and the staff at my local Sainsbury’s convenience store, the kind of place you visit four or five times a week for a banana or a newspaper, roll their eyes as they ask.

The Nectar people obviously believe in the concept, though ? they’ve produced 40 Million of them and would like to see 20 Million in use. The way I see it, if the other 20 Million UK adults all bought one of my t-shirts we’d be able to send $120M to UNHCR. Since I’ve always wanted to hand over one of those huge cardboard cheques, I think you should get on with it and buy one.