Thursday, 25 August 2011

Crunch Time

Crrrunch! Why are ginger biscuits so hard? Incoming thoughts paused to savour this gingery treat. Hmmm, nom-nom.... My brain chooses to rudely interrupt my tea break. Biscuits, the perfect introduction to this piece. I wipe the crumbs off my chin and top. Mucky pup I think, and with a swig of tea begin to type...

The Vegetarian Society member's discount list reminds me a lot of biscuits. A variety of veggie-friendly businesses in the UK and beyond offering a discount on a product or service. A selection of food stores, restaurants, holidays, activities and cosmetic goods. A bonus to being a member, or is it? How many of us actually use it? My card is always on me, tucked away in my purse gathering dust. It's not that I haven't attempted or don't want to use it, I do. Who doesn't like a few pence knocked off? Getting a bargain gives you a high.

I can count on one hand the number of times I've benefited. Two places in a nearby town I can rely on to give me my due, and they're not ashamed to promote it. My recent attempts to use in a large chain have however been thwarted. I won't hold back – I'll name them... The repeated offender award goes to Holland & Barrett, the health store giant. I wasn't aware they offered a Veg Soc discount until recently. Thrice I've asked in my local store, shown my card, and been knocked-back. Staff have stated their reasons. You can't use your card if there are discounts in-store. Fair enough, but isn't that most of the time? What if my card gives me a better discount? On each failed attempt I've muttered these words, “That really takes the biscuit!”

Perhaps I'm just unlucky. Shopping in sync with promotions. To ask every time seems pointless. A queue of shuffling feet and coughs forming behind me. I remain pleasant, but pay for my goods and get out. An embarrassment I can forgo. The experience personal to me. Nit picking you might think, but I made a chief observation in my three defeats. I don't want to have to quietly ask at the counter each time. To have the rebuke overheard. Do other Veg Soc members feel the same?

The discount list is a great scheme, but businesses should pledge to be upfront about it. Why the reluctance to making this clear on the premises? I generalise, but couldn't more businesses display a public sign? Veg Soc discount offered or something. If I was an owner I'd be proud to exhibit such a sign. This membership entitlement has reached a crunch time. Don't veggie-friendly establishments want to entice new customers? This critical component left out of the mix is like a ginger biscuit without the fiery hit. The anticipation dies, and disappointment arises instead.

Shopkeepers, take note: Honour and promote your participation in this scheme. Be bold and Veg Soc members will return with repeated custom and free PR!