Review: An Out of Date Safeways Loyalty Card

safeway loyalty card

Pictured: a plastic card with a 90’s style colour scheme, at an exciting angle

What’s being tested:  The discovery of a now-defunct ‘ABC’ points-for-purchases savings card, the kind used to incentivise continued shopping at the aforementioned supermarket chain.

What we found:

Pros:  Our testers found that there were many positives to be taken from discovering the long out-of-use loyalty card. Primarily, we felt that not having formed a strong enough bond with the now-dead supermarket was a very positive thing, in that it implied that we had not bought into the relationship enough to consider it ‘a relationship’. Having not actively identified with the core Safeway principles and having not ultimately come to consider ourselves part of ‘the Safeway family’ was encouraging, as it indicated that we sought to create more lasting and substantial relationships than those formed with mid-price grocery stores. Our testers found that this detachment had left us in a far stronger position to weather the occasion of the chain’s demise, and as such did not oblige us to mourn in any way, which would in have been an incredibly ineffectual use of our time. This also boded well for the future passing of other famous brands.

Many of our testers also enjoyed finding the card itself, as it was found to be a source of some powerful nostalgia. While the act of gravitating to a Safeway store to produce the card when shopping was required had never become so deeply embedded as to become automatic (something many of testers also found to be a good thing), the card itself still deliberately carried enough of the brand identity for it to act as a tangible link to an otherwise forgotten relic from the country’s collective commercial heritage. A few of our testers also mentioned that they remembered their mums going to Safeway for the shopping and using the card, which was also important.

Finally, we found that removing the card from our active purse wallet felt like progress, as we then had space for other more exciting contemporary reward cards. Some of our testers even suggested that we must have loads going on in our lives if we hadn’t ever been bored enough to clean out our wallet until now, which was true, and as such felt profoundly positive.



Cons:  We found that, while correctly not valuing the slightly unsettling calls for loyalty from a commercial body, the fact that the loyalty card had fallen out of use still suggested a degree of disloyalty, and as such meant that we had been disloyal. We found that this, and the fact that we had not ultimately been reimbursed on the points we had accumulated for what little loyalty we had shown, was a slight negative, and also a stain on our character.

In addition to this, we felt that the discovery of the card reminded us of all the things that we had been saving up for (9 Piece Royal Doulton Tea Sets, 1-Way P&O Car Ferry tickets etc.)  and were perhaps still to be acquired. Some of our testers believed that, while the passing of the points system suggested progress, the prevalence of the mystique surrounding its rewards did not.

 Verdict: On balance, we found that not having become so attached to using the Safeway loyalty card as to have noticed and felt short-changed by its passing was an almost entirely positive thing. One of our testers did suggest that the continued existence of the loyalty card, though, was an indication that, in a lot of ways, Safeway had in fact moved on from us. Rather than us having avoided forming an ultimately superficial relationship with a shop, the shop had ultimately not provided a degree of relationship which we would have wished for. As when one enjoys an unsuccessful drama franchise too much, the exchange of emotions and ideas that we might have wished for wasn’t found to be commercially viable, and as such was never brought into being. After all, our possession of the loyalty card suggests that we had wanted something, and that something evidently wasn’t just a DeLonghi Kettle/Toaster Set. Ultimately, though, we decided that that sounded a bit weird, that we were ultimately right, and binned the thing.