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No I do not have a CVS card
July 3, 2008 12:24 PM   Subscribe

Why do I need a CVS card?

I rarely go into CVS (mainly for birthday cards) and every time they always ask "do you have a CVS card" and my answer is always no. So then they proceed to scan some random card off to the side and then I get the "discount."
Are they scanning their personal card, just a random card...why have the card system?
So my question is what card are they scanning and if it is a personal card they how does corporate let it happen, or if it a "store" card then why?
posted by doorsfan to Grab Bag (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
They're being nice to you since you're an occasional customer, and giving you the benefit of any special sales they have going on, all of which are tied to having a card.

If you're a regular customer like I am, the CVS card can give you all kinds of funky benefits like 20% off of all store-brand items for a month, a coupon or gift certificate that's really lucrative (such as $3 off of any item or buy 1 / get 1 free any item under $10).

If you're an occasional customer like you are and they DON'T scan the card for you, you won't get the advertised special prices and instead will get the (slightly inflated) regular price.
posted by SpecialK at 12:28 PM on July 3, 2008


CVS offers a rebate each quarter based on purchases (called ExtraBucks), as well as discounts (both right off the top and as instant extrabucks rebates). When you don't give them your card (which you don't have), they scan a store card, which gets you whatever discounts are available instantly (sans instant rebates and sans accrued quarterly rebates) but require a card as a courtesy.

Sign up for a card with phony information, if only for the quarterly rebates.
posted by JakeWalker at 12:29 PM on July 3, 2008


Its not a store card...its the card for the employee (who also happens to be a customer who buys stuff there). They are getting the rewards for purchases. If 40 customers who buy $20 worth of stuff, each, throughout an 8 hour shift do not have a card...thats $800 worth of purchases being racked up on the employee's card. Multiply that times a week, and thats $4,000 worth of purchases...multiply that times a month, and thats $16,000. Thats mad rewards.

You get the discount, and don't feel that you are being "Tracked", and the employee supplements their barely above minimum wage job with 2% back (over a month, that could be $320).

Corporate uses this card to track purchases, do stats, and possibly send you specific coupons/discounts. They DO NOT want the checkout person doing this for everyone. That does not help them with tracking, and just gives everyone the discount, without getting any info back.

I think it works out for everyone...as long as you don't rat him/her out to the manager.

Also, not to be a total bastard, but this could easily have been answered by googling "cvs card".

http://www.cvs.com/CVSApp/cvs/gateway/promotion?pid=304
posted by hal_c_on at 12:37 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


interesting links
posted by tom_g at 12:40 PM on July 3, 2008


Some managers/stores will go out of their way to ensure that stores don't give you the discounts if you don't have your card. So corporate would probably prefer it didn't happen.

At a store I worked for, we had a membership card but sometimes a customer would claim to be a member but wouldn't be findable in the system. There was a card code that would work for those circumstances so the customer wouldn't complain. With some spare time on the register I found some other "customer satisfaction" card numbers.
posted by drezdn at 1:11 PM on July 3, 2008


Understand, too, that all the discounts and rebates and whatnot are mere enticements for you to get the card. The card itself is used to garner data for marketing and re-sale of that consumer data to 3rd parties.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:14 PM on July 3, 2008


We get all our prescriptions at CVS and the rebate adds up to real money pretty quickly. It's one of the better retail loyalty cards IMHO.

Is it just me or is AsakMefi getting a lot of questions lately that would be answered in less time via Google than it takes to post it here?
posted by COD at 1:27 PM on July 3, 2008


I never sign up for those cards because of the marketing data issue. I figured you had to use your real address on the application, though, so they could, I don't know, send you the card or verify it or something. Can I really just do Bill Jones at 123 Maple Street? Because if so, I, Bill Jones, am about to get every discount card and then do this.
posted by Askr at 1:38 PM on July 3, 2008


Because if you do it right you can get hundreds of dollars of groceries for tens of dollars.

Linky.
posted by TomMelee at 1:39 PM on July 3, 2008


I'm a hardcore CVS shopper so I'll attempt to answer this without too much detail but enough to give you some insight. The CVS deals are all tied to using a card that gets scanned before the items get rung up. That's how the register reads that a discount should be applied to an item being scanned. The workers are trained to always ask a person whether they have theirs because it is needed before the items are scanned and if the person has a card it is worth their while to have the purchase ring up associated with their card.

Some of the benefits with a CVS card that go beyond just getting that $1 off of toothpaste that was advertised:
  • Extra Care Bucks are good as cash coupons that get printed when you buy certain items (advertised in the inserts). Their are limited amounts of these available to each customer and they are tied to your card.
  • Coupons regularly print out along with your receipt for regular card carrying members that vary from specific coupons for items to generic "$4 off a purchase of $20 or more" coupons.
  • The previously mentioned quarterly bonus Extra Bucks. It's only 2% put when you shop at CVS very often like I do it amounts to once a quarter them printing out a coupon for $30-$40 and handing it to you which is, again, good as cash on your next visit.
  • Emails with coupons for $ off of your purchases
If they use the store card all you got was $1 off your toothpaste. That's why they always ask if you have one.
posted by genial at 1:40 PM on July 3, 2008


hal_c_on and COD

Thanks for the input but no my question couldn't be answered here. I completely understand the loyalty aspect.

So my question is what card are they scanning and if it is a personal card they how does corporate let it happen, or if it a "store" card then why?

As you and others have pointed out it must be their own card - So thank you for that piece. I simply was looking for how corporate CVS is letting that happen. They know who works for them so why would they allow all of these mad rewards to accrue on employee accounts.
posted by doorsfan at 1:46 PM on July 3, 2008


As a sidenote, don't be surprised if they stop doing this at some point. Many drug stores and grocery stores that have been very lax about having a "store card" at the register or about letting cashiers give discounts on their own cards have been cracking down on this practice, one assumes for two reasons -- corporate wants rewards only to go to those who really "earn" them so as not to dilute the brand value of the card, and they want their purchasing / marketing stats not to be garbage. (A couple days ago I was in a store that has a very similar program to CVS's and the person ahead of me didn't have her card; when she asked if she could use someone else's, in this case mine, the cashier said no, a new store policy said that was not allowed.)
posted by aught at 1:50 PM on July 3, 2008


Oh, and for the personal tip portion of my comment: I keep all those annoying store discount cards (CVS, Rite Aid, supermarkets, PetSmart, etc.) in an Altoids tin in my car or bookbag, so that they're all together and available (assuming I have driven or have my bookbag with me). I had to get them out of my wallet before I turned into George Costanza in that Seinfeld ep with the wallet that was giving him back problems.
posted by aught at 1:53 PM on July 3, 2008


My nephew worked at CVS. The cashiers would use their card 100% of the time for non-card-carrying customers. For the reasons cited above.
posted by mightshould at 2:14 PM on July 3, 2008


As others have said, it's the cashier's card. I also think this is a great thing, since (1) the worker has a crappy job otherwise, and (2) this practice totally mucks up the personal shopping data they're collecting. Bwaaa-haaa.

Is it just me or is AsakMefi getting a lot of questions lately that would be answered in less time via Google than it takes to post it here?

I think that's normal, but as an aside I'd love to have an AsokMeFi.

"I did a statistical analysis and found no correlation between my efforts and my rewards." - Asok
posted by rokusan at 2:57 PM on July 3, 2008


Doorsfan...they KNOW who works for them...but they don't know which card is being used (is it THAT person's card, with THAT person's information? Or a neighbor's card...or what?). You only need the card to claim rewards...so even thought joseph stevenson is working behind the counter and a loyal cvs employee...There's a guy by the name of Mike Hunt who gets about $320 of rewards at CVS. get it?
posted by hal_c_on at 4:25 PM on July 3, 2008


Correct me if I'm wrong, but if there is a sale price, and it is advertised, or posted in the store, or marked on the item aren't the supposed to sell it to you at that price regardless of the CVS card?
posted by Gungho at 4:53 PM on July 3, 2008


Also, many CVS stores will let you use expired Extra Care Bucks and coupons that print on your receipt. My local one, however, is stopping as of August 1st, thanks to a woman who got her brother's expired ECBs from out of state, and used them all in one day between 3 local CVS stores. She used over $1000 of expired coupons in one day. As usual, one greedy person ruins it for the rest of us.
posted by IndigoRain at 5:29 PM on July 3, 2008


Correct me if I'm wrong, but if there is a sale price, and it is advertised, or posted in the store, or marked on the item aren't the supposed to sell it to you at that price regardless of the CVS card?

As a general rule, as long as they have the *(with CVS card) everywhere they advertise the price, they're OK; and they do.
posted by theclaw at 5:45 PM on July 3, 2008


Off-topic -- but for those who use these cards, check out JustOneClubCard.com, which lets you combine a bunch of barcoded cards onto one printable card. I haven't tried it yet -- I don't have enough cards -- but it seems cool.
posted by rdn at 6:02 PM on July 3, 2008


you know, i like a thin wallet and generally avoid these cards (and usually cashiers swipe the default one if i'm buying something that's significantly cheaper with the card). however, i recently gave in and got a borders one and it's been actually pretty decent. if you can deal with the several-times-a-week emailing, you can get like 20-30% off any one item pretty regularly. that's pretty close to something like an employee discount.
posted by tremspeed at 7:20 PM on July 3, 2008


Sometimes I just buy the newspaper at CVS, and they ask if I have a card. I just tell them no. It seems kind of nervy to require a card for non-'sale' purchases.
posted by Mael Oui at 9:51 PM on July 3, 2008


Its not a store card...its the card for the employee

It is the store card—it says "Courtesy Card" on the receipt when they do this. If it were the employee's card, you'd still get coupons attached to your receipt, but with the employee's name on them.

That's how the register reads that a discount should be applied to an item being scanned.

Even if your card is scanned after the items are rung up, you still get the discount. Note that the entire receipt prints after the transaction is complete.
posted by oaf at 12:39 PM on July 4, 2008


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