When I was a teenager, I saw my very first credit card. My cousin had an Esso Card and was able to buy gas for her car without money! Very convenient, but debt issues aside, I think all those cards can be dangerous.
It isn’t about the ability to pay back what I have “borrowed” that concerns me, it is that these seemingly innocuous plastic cards seem to be taking over my wallet and my life.
The following cards are in my purse right now:
- Two Tim Horton’s Cards. These can be refilled (with money) so I don’t have to use cash (money) to buy my steeped tea. ??? Why two cards? Well, one has on it a cute picture of a miniature hockey player, #11, which is my grandson Owen’s number when he plays hockey. I couldn’t resist it. The first one I had, which I am keeping, has no money on it but it does have something more valuable on it. A picture of not so miniature hockey player, Sidney Crosby! Enough said.
- My card from the Sneakers Mall Walking Club entitling me to a free coffee once a month. I used it once.
- A Mark’s (clothing company) card for $10.00 off a purchase of $50.00, which expired yesterday. Unused.
- An Artistic License Card. This was given out by my Art Teacher, Paul, when I completed one of his courses. Funny but not useful.
- A card from The Canadian Canoe Museum, where I have a couple of paintings hanging. At least I know where my paintings are!
- A card with a dental appointment on it. A year old.
- An Enterprise Rent-a-car card. Purpose? Phone number???
- A Cleo (clothing company) Customer Card. I don’t know what this is for. Maybe I collect points towards “free” clothing???
- An Yves Rocher (Body and Bath ) Customer Card. Points for free stuff.
- A Carleton Cards Customer Card, which is no longer valid.
- Two Country Style cards which promise me a free coffee/tea when I buy 9. One card is good only at their downtown location, one at any location. I think I got a free tea there once about a year and a half ago.
- A Coffee Culture Card promising me two free teas when I buy 9. I’ve bought one tea there.
- A Government of Canada Card which announces to everyone, interested or not, that I am officially old.
- Two Senior Ten-Ride Bus Cards. I use these often. One has only one ride left on it; the other is full.
- A Northern Traditions (clothing company) Friends Card. Points. I have to buy a lot of sweaters to make this one worth it.
- An OCT (Ontario College of Teachers) Membership Card. Yes, I’ve kept my standing, even though I have retired. You never know.
- A Sears Credit Card. Useful. It also has Sears Club Points associated with it. I think I got a $5.00 gift card a few years ago.
- A VIA Preference Card. Points toward free train travel. I’ve found this card very useful as I travel by train often. I’ve had several free trips, probably worth a total of about $500.00.
- A Government of Ontario Health Card, entitling me to free health care. Period. Very important card.
- Two Library Cards. One for Oshawa. One for Whitby (the town next door). I use both a great deal, especially now that they offer free ebooks to download for two weeks.
- A Hudson’s Bay/Zeller’s (department store) Credit Card.
- A Hudson’s Bay/ Zellers Points Card. I’ve earned several $10.00 gift cards over the last few years.
- A Staples Dividend Card, used to receive 5% in savings. I receive a gift coupon once every quarter, depending on how much I spend.
- A Shopper’s Drug Mart Optimum Points Card. I now have $50.00 worth of points.
- A Government of Ontario Driver’s Licence.
- An Air Miles Points Card. Got a $25.00 gift card once a few years ago.
- A Chapters (book store) card giving me 5% off all purchases. Soon to be replaced by a Plum card, giving me 5% off all purchases.
- A Major Credit Card.
- A Card listing the medications I currently take.
I’m pretty sure I could live without 75% of these cards. I know I’m collecting points, but the companies are collecting personal information about what I like to buy.
These companies know my penchant for buying gift cards for my grandchildren, my clothing size (shhhh), my preference for mystery books, the restaurants I frequent, the trips I take, the colour hair dye I use, how often I visit the dentist, and the treats I buy myself.
The Governments of Ontario and Canada know absolutely everything about me!
There is no escape!
However, that said, I intend to declutter my wallet and will gladly bear the cost of that tenth cup of free tea, to avoid the “cost” of such a heavy wallet.
Those are the cards in my wallet. What’s in yours?