Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The 'S' in SPC Doesn't Mean Simple (or Senior)

When the cashier at the shoe store asked if I wanted to purchase a SPC, I asked, "What's that?"

"Oh, it's a discount card. You'll be going back-to-school shopping for your daughter. She nodded at 12-year-old Elizabeth. You can get 10% discounts at all these stores listed. It depends on the store, but most of them give you a 10% off whatever you buy. It only costs $8.50 and you get a $5.50 saving with this purchase, so $3 more and the thing is paid for. You can use it all year."

"Okay, I'll take it."

Later that day I tried to use my new SPC at Zellers. I didn't think of it until I saw the little rack of SPC's for sale on the counter. "Oh, I have one of those, could I use it here?" I said brightly to the young cashier.

"Too late. I already rang you through."

"So, just do it over."

"I need to see your student card."

"I'm not a student."

"This is a card for students."

Suddenly I felt a need to stand up for my rights. My voice grew louder, "I bought this card today. The girl at the shoe store said I could use it at all these stores." I pulled out the list of stores. "She sold it to me, as me." I pointed at my 57-year-old self.

"Well, I'll call the supervisor, but you have to know that this is a student discount card."

"All these items" I pointed at the Tide, the Fantastic, the face wash and the printer ink cartridge, "are for my daughter who is going back to college. She asked me to buy them for her."

"Well, then she will have to pay for them."

"She's not here. I'm here. I'm buying them for her."

At that moment a supervisor stepped in. She listened to the story and decided, "We'll let you use it this time, but you need to go back to that shoe store and get your money back. This is a Student Price Card (SPC)."

I had my $4.75 discount. The card was more than paid for. I apologized to the young cashier. She gave me a 'whatever' look. I slunk out of the store.

I felt like crud. Why did I have to use my righteous indignation for such an unworthy cause? Why do I think of the store as an enemy out to get me?

The next day I gave my SPC to my daughter, the college student. Now that she is going off to school, she'll be doing her own shopping. I hope merchants in Quebec recognize the card.

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