I am addicted to caffeine, but to my slight shame, I have also become addicted to the coffee chains’ loyalty schemes. As one of Britain’s most accomplished losers-of-things, I have mislaid keys, phones, tablets, laptops, suitcases and, on one occasion, my dad. I have amazingly never once lost my Caffe Nero loyalty card. A fully stamped card was a beautiful thing. How I miss it now they have put the scheme on an app.
You can pay for your coffee with this app and get your stamp automatically. This has the added advantage of you not having to look tragically insistent on having your paper card stamped. And oh, the perks! You get free stamps sometimes, an extra one if you bring your own cup and a whole torrent of stamps if you sign a friend up to the app.
But now they are losing my love a bit. They have started sending a virtual Christmas cracker with every purchase. You pull the cracker and – lo! – an extra stamp pops out for you, which is lovely. Or it doesn’t, which is extremely annoying. And you get a message reading: “Sorry, you didn’t win this time … But here’s a joke to cheer you up!” If anything could cheer me up after such a terrible disappointment, it wouldn’t be: “What do they sing at a snowman’s birthday party? Freeze a jolly good fellow.”
Worse was to come. Before I left that cafe, I asked for another shot of coffee (one stamp) to add to the coffee I had bought there earlier in my reusable cup (two stamps). You’ll never guess what he did. He gave me a free shot of coffee. This meant no stamp and I found myself a bit livid with the poor man. I’ve got to have a word with myself.