Duane Reade Deploys Rewards Program Shrink Ray

Even retailer rewards programs can fall victim to the Shrink Ray. The latest victim? Duane Reade. Reader RC was saddened to learn of he change, and lays it out for us.

Duane Reade’s rewards program used to give you a $5 off coupon for every 100 points you earned at $1 per point of spend. Therefore, you essentially got 5% off of everything but pharmacy drugs. I guess they decided it was too generous for their bottom line because they changed the name of their program and greatly diluted the value. You now get 2 points per dollar of spend but it takes 500 to redeem. They’re of course perfectly within their prerogatives to change it and of course need to market their brand positively, but I just hate when companies try to disguise the fact that they’re actually diminishing the value. “Earn twice as many points for every dollar you spend!” It’s insulting, although I’m sure many won’t realize they went from getting a 5% discount to a 2% discount.

The credit card companies are constantly doing the same thing – acting like some change they just made is a good thing when it’s actually terrible. Coke Rewards did it. Airlines do it. Banks do it. Everyone in Corporate America. It’s understandable but nevertheless insulting every time they try to fool us into thinking a bad change is good for us. And they wonder why we don’t trust a thing they say.

Would a drastic change to a rewards program change your buying habits, or do you find your rewards elsewhere as a consumer?

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