I am not an alcohol drinker and never have been. Therefore, I have not had the experience of being “carded” at a restaurant or store. My only chance of being asked to show my ID these days would be to verify that I qualify for the senior-citizen discount.
I am, however, routinely “carded” in other ways. On my key ring right now hang 12 plastic-coated, miniature-size discount cards for local businesses. I have three times as many discount cards on my key ring as I have keys. I think I will start referring to it as my card ring.
Of course I have trouble finding the right card when I need it. I usually go through 11 other cards before I locate the right one. Sometimes I never locate the right one. Recently, as I was ordering food at McAlister’s Deli, I asked the clerk to wait a minute. I dug through my purse to retrieve my card ring and flashed a card at her. “That’s a Panera Bread Card,” she said to me. In a similar situation, I was informed a few days ago that my Speedway Rewards Card would not get me a discount at Circle K.
I have considered tossing out all of these little money-saving but time-consuming discount cards. Like coupons, they often are more trouble than they are worth. When a clerk hands me my receipt and smilingly says, “You saved 12 cents today with your rewards card,” I want to say, “Wow! Now I can really help my children.”
Those little reward cards are not the only cards that have become out of control. My wallet will not snap shut anymore, and that is not because I have too much cash in it. I have too many cards: four credit cards, two ATM debit cards, my health insurance card, my dental insurance card, two library cards, my AARP card, an auto insurance card for each of our three vehicles, three cards containing encouraging Bible verses, and a card on which I have jotted down various passwords I use (scrambled a bit in order to thwart identity thieves). I am a card-carrying fool! Apparently, if I want my wallet to snap shut, I will have to get rid of my driver’s license.
Speaking of cards, has anyone else noticed how expensive greeting cards have become? My daughter’s birthday was in September, and I spent half an hour at the drug store choosing exactly the right birthday card for her. As I headed for the register, I glanced at the back of the card and saw that it cost $6.99! Mortified at seeing that high price, I stopped where I was and backtracked to the card aisle. I shoved that card back into the rack and spent another half hour finding an acceptable but less expensive card. I then proceeded to the check-out with a card that cost only $5.99. There the clerk smiled warmly at me and asked, “Do you have one of our customer rewards cards?”
Sitting at home later and thinking about how much hassle cards have caused me lately, I heard my phone ring. It was a friend asking, “Do you and Dan want to come over Friday night? We’ll play cards.”