Like many other things in the world that seem efficient, the internet has it’s fair share of fads.
One such fad got kicked off back in 2005, when every website started requiring a log in and password. Even the most mundane of purchases, for instance a TV cable I purchased from Tigerdirect for $3, required a full site registration complete with log in and password. The constant requirement for website registration ended up creating way more passwords than anyone could remember and also forced consumers into long term relationships with websites, even if they were only looking for a one night stand (a one time purchase).
The newest fad facing the internet is the introduction of “points” based rewards systems. There was a time when you could only earn points on your credit card and your drivers license – but now you can earn points all over the place. Discount websites (like CorporatePerks.com) will give you points on purchases with discount retailers, Amtrak will give you points for purchasing rail tickets, and Duane Reade will give you points for purchasing items at their drug stores.
Taking this fad to the extreme, the health food store in my neighborhood recently introduced their own points based rewards system. This food store (essentially a glorified bodega) invites customers to sign up for a rewards card, that you need to carry with you and scan at the register. In return for carrying this rewards card (which closely resembles a credit card), you can accumulate points that can be redeemed after a nominal discount after a nauseating volume of purchases.
Enough with the points, I’m definitely looking forward to this fad moving on.