First, there’s the NTUC Link Card. I’ve been a holder for 10 years or more. It gives me Link points which currently can be used to offset my shopping bills at Fairprice.
In addition, I get to enjoy dividends paid out by Fairprice, thanks to a handful of shares alloted.
Sure the sums are tiny; probably not enough for me to have a one-time binge at Starbucks every year.
But that’s better than nothing which is what happens when I shop at other places, like Cold Storage, besides the usually higher prices I’ve to pay at the Dairy Farm subsidiary’s ubiquitous outlets.
Then comes the Passion Card, issued by the People’s Association. I became a Passion card carrying member in March when I joined a yoga class run at the Kampong Glam Community Club.
And voila, since April 1 (no joke) I’ve begun earning Passion points at Cold Storage when I shop, and should I shop at its family of shops– Guardian, Shop n Save and Giant — I’ll be earning points too. I don’t know what these points will translate into but guess they will probably be like what Link Points offer.
Which brings me to these question:
Are the products of Fairprice and the Dairy Farm subsidiaries priced (or overpriced) in such a way that they can give the retailers a profit, despite giving rebates to Link and Passion members respectively?
Are those who are non-members subsidising us because without all this earn-point business, their purchases might have been priced lower?
And what about those retailers which give up to 5% rebates for customers who have Citibank or Standard Chatered credit cards?
Looks to me very much like those of us who earn points may only be enjoying an illusion of benefitting while those who don’t have any of the affiliated cards are the born losers. Yet if everyone were to have all the cards that give points or rebates, it could mean no one would benefit, other than the retailers!