I suppose it depends how you look at it. That is the contents of my purse today: approximately 114 Swiss francs and twice 2x Cumulus points with 25x points if I happen to buy Farmer’s Best deep frozen vegetable, which I do now and again if it has to be quick and I run out of ideas. It is not a fortune, but it is enough. The real money is in the bank – we all have our own systems. The Cumulus points are a supermarket system and I am sure that your supermarkets also have their own system. They are not really giving anything away, because at the end of the day it is all calculated. I have discovered that arriving at the cash desk to pay the bill is becoming a financial puzzle. We would lay down the money and the assistant would give us the change, like real money that would jingle and make your purse bulge.
Purses now only bulge with some bits and pieces, but mainly credit cards and now the lady at the cash desk asks if you have anything to redeem, meaning those points you have printed on a cash receipt. You get 2x Cumulus points if you add one of these receipts to the money, meaning that you will have double the normal points on your balance. At the end of the month the supermarket sends you cheques based on these points which you can use as money in your supermarket and we are all convinced we are getting someting for nothing. We are getting something, but not for nothing, because we paid at the cash desk to let the points add up, thus known in our market as Cumulus, they cumulate. If you do not have these magical 2x receipts, then you get them all the same, but only 1x.
Recently they have began to issue these points 25x for certain items. This now means that shopping is not only a financial puzzle but a question of logistics, organising what you buy, because it depends on whether you get apply an extra 25x cumulus points receipt if you buy the right thing. Are you following me? No, it does not really matter, because I think most of us have lost the thread on the way. I often lose it at the cash desk. You used to choose the goods, pay and go. Now you are confronted with searching through your purse, or perhaps your jacket pockets to see what other special extras you might have (apart from being given the special sticky stamps for your card if you are collecting teddy bears – Christmas thing). You no longer need a purse and money, or even credit cards, but a mini computer to be able to sort it all out.
Fortunes have become digital. I do not blame my dad, who was a centenarian, and kept his money (real money) in his pockets or in a box. One of his main statements was “I don’t want a bank account” as if it was the crime of the centuary. “I don’t want a cheque book” was another phrase he used. He was sure that a cheque book was a fiddle, a scheme where the banks were cheating you. I do not blame him. His whole life was based on cash and a weekly wage. His pension was paid into an account, but he would have it collected in cash. Sometimes he lost count of how much cash he actually had at home, but he knew what his fortune was. It was in paper and coins. We have moved on of course. Modern day life is all money shifting by digital methods.
We have made progress, until the day when the computers die.