Legalized Extortion Cards


Do rewards or loyalty Store Cards really save you money at the grocery store?



Grocery stores are not philanthropic institutions interested in world peace and feeding the hungry. They are ‘for profit’ businesses. They are in business to make money……..and lots of it.

Savings or so called loyalty cards are really a very sophisticated marketing tool to increase store  profits at your expense and result in a higher total grocery store bill for you.  

Here is how it works:

When a store implements a Store Card Program the very first thing they do is raise the price on most, if not all items in the store. 

Furthermore and more importantly, the card gives ‘members’  a reduced price on ONLY on a few weekly sale items in the store. Except that now most of the other items in the store are priced higher.  

Stores used to give the weekly sale price to everyone. Now with the card program, both members and non-members are paying higher prices on almost everything else.

Well you might logically ask, don’t I save money over the long term?



Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIN) a tax exempt, non profit organization did a study on this:

This was confirmed in CASPIAN’s 2000 study on Kroger in Indiana, where the majority of prices, 56 percent, remained unchanged after the card program was introduced.  Our study went on to show that of the remaining prices, those that increased in price outnumbered those that were lowered – by a significant margin.

The total grocery bill for a purchase of each item compared in the study increased 1.5% – a seemingly odd way for a store to “reward loyalty  [Emphasis mine.]


The other thing to keep in mind if using Store Cards, is that the store compiles and stores a lot of information on your buying habits on their computers.

What To Do

These so called reward programs are insidious. The stores that use these cards force you to use them too get the advertised weekly sale price.  That is why I like to refer to them as tongue-in-cheek, Legalized Extortion Cards. Previous to the cards, everyone got the advertised sale price that week. Nice way to reward your loyalty isn’t it?

This is what I do. I try to game the system.

I shop loyalty/reward stores ONLY for sale items.

Fortunately I live in an area where there are nine (9) grocery stores within a 3 miles radius of where I live. Five (5) of them are non-reward card stores. Additionally there are two (2) other stores with no cards within a ten (10) mile radius of where I live.

I buy most of my groceries at the no card types of stores. I compare prices and costs. For the most part the cost of groceries at all of the stores is comparable to or less than card stores depending on the item.

However, even if I would pay a bit more sometimes, it is worth it to me not to have me and my buying habits tracked.

Featured Recipe       Bratwurst with Pineapples

Fall and sausage just seem to go together. I don’t know why. It just does. So today I share a super easy and super delicious sausage recipe.

This recipe was inspired by one in the March 2012 Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Actually, all I kept from that recipe was the brats and the pineapples. I thought that pairing was a divinely inspired one. And it is!!!

Their recipe also would have me poach the brats first. Yea. Like that’s ever going to happen with this lazy cook. Plus for most of us who work and have busy lives, we just don’t have that much time to prepare dinner for the hubs and kids.

The recipe also sprinkled  Aleppo pepper on the pineapple and I just can’t take that much heat. I also thought that was kind of boring and that I could do a lot more with pineapples than just pepper.

Below is what I came up with.

This is what you will need for 4 people:

4 bratwurst

1 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons butter

½ cup brown sugar

1 can pineapple chunks in heavy syrup (not juice.)

1 tablespoon pineapple syrup

1/3 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup red currants

Here is what you do:

Drain the pineapples reserving 1 tablespoon of the syrup for later.

Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat for about 2 minutes.

When the oil is hot add the bratwurst and cook about 5-7 minutes turning every minutes or so that they brown nicely on all sides.

Cover and cook an additional 1-2 minutes to ensure the brats are cooked through and are done.

Remove brats from the skillet to a plate and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Lower the heat to medium and add the butter, brown sugar, the pineapple juice. Stir until the brown sugar melts and beings to bubble and thicken. Be sure to scrape up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. This adds extra flavor into the sauce. It makes clean-up a breeze too!

Add the pineapple chunks to the skillet and mix into the surup until heated through and the brown sugar mixture begin to bubble and thicken again, about 3 – 5 minutes.

Add the bratwurst back into the skillet for a minute or two to reheat.

Turn the heat off and add the pecans and currants. Do not cook the pecans and currants so that the pecans maintain their crunch.

Serve the bratwurst and pineapple with some rice and a salad. I mixed some currants into the rice too.

Bon appétit!!!


4 bratwurst                           $3.00

1 tbspn vegetable oil              $0.12

2 tablespoons butter              $0.16

½ cup brown sugar               $0.44

1 can pineapple chunks          $1.25

1 tbspn pineapple syrup          $0.00

1/3 cup chopped pecans         $3.00

1/3  cup red currants             $0.90

Total cost = $8.87
Cost per person = $$2.22

Quote of the Day

Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.

Peter Ustinov


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1 comment to Legalized Extortion Cards

  • I buy most of my food at farmer’s markets or my butcher. The things I can get away with buying at Aldi I do and the rest I’ll buy from one of the two big supermarket chains in Australia. They don’t get a lot of my money. I agree with it being none of their business what I buy.