Punch-drunk on Punch Cards

The main zipper on my favorite (and only) wallet jumped the tracks the other day, and I think I know why:  too many punch cards.  Nope, it’s not too many credit cards (and certainly not cash) that have caused my favorite brown leather four-compartment wallet to bulge at the seams—it’s those darn punch cards and reward cards that every place of business seems to be giving me these days.  And I can’t resist a bargain, so I can’t resist those cards.  I mean, if I buy 5 pairs of pointe shoes for my ballet dancing teen daughter, I can get one pair free? Never mind that it will probably take 4-5 years before the card is filled and she will be in college by then— by golly, at $50 a pair, I’d better get some kind of gold star for purchasing them.  And that little signature and checkmark they put on the card gives me the tiny sense that I’m getting some kind of a deal—even though I’m probably not. 

 

I’m also a card-carrying member of the JC Penney Watch Battery Club, the Ulta Beauty Club, Borders Rewards, OfficeMax MaxPerks, Blockbuster Rewards, Tom Thumb Rewards, Delia’s Frequent Buyers, Corner Bakery’s Cup of Joe Club and the “Cool Rewards Club” at Cool Cuts 4 Kids (Gee, can I put all those memberships on my resume’?  Well, a stay-at-home mom’s gotta have something!) I’m a Freebirds Fanatic and also carry “loyalty” cards for Which Wich, Great Harvest Bread, Albertsons, Hallmark and CVS.  And not only do I have a card from Sandy’s Dancewear for pointe shoes, I have one for Jazz/Lyrical, Ballet shoes, and Tights.   

 

Oh, sure, I could keep them in a drawer or file at home and only take them out when I need them— but seriously, what busy mom can remember that? It’s hard enough to remember where I put my keys, and remember to take along my environmentally-friendly cloth shopping bags when I go shopping, and remember to then grab them out of the car once I get where I’m going.  Remembering to also grab the right punch cards just isn’t going to happen.  And besides, I don’t always know when I’ll need them.  When I’ve tried keeping them at home, I end up at Smoothie King with the kids for an impromptu after-school snack, without (horrors!) my Smoothie King Frequent Buyer Card, and I can’t stand not getting credit for my purchase, and so what happens? I get another punch card.  “Just combine the two to get your next free smoothie,” says the nice dark-haired lady behind the counter.  Great.  Two-for-one.

 

And so, the stack of buyer cards keeps growing, and my wallet just keeps getting fatter.  Maybe I should get one of those business card holders to house them, and throw that in my purse. Or get a purse with an extra compartment. At the very least, get a new wallet with more room. It looks like I’m going to be forced to do that, anyway.  While I miraculously fixed that broken zipper (and for any of you who have tried to fix a broken zipper on a wallet, you know that is no small feat), the next day, even though the zipper teeth stayed in place, the fabric surrounding it ripped away from the rest of the wallet.  Must have been that new Whole Foods Vitamin Card I just got…

31 thoughts on “Punch-drunk on Punch Cards”

  1. Fellow uncool mom here supporting your indulgent whine with empathy. I SOOO get it. Get prepared. One day, your wallet will no longer bulge. First, there is college. Your wallet will dry up. Every time you see your credit card, you will flinch. Groceries will be dear. My card-carrying days are waning, thanks to graduation. I still have a few: drugstore, grocery, and discount breadstore card. I buy day-old bread now: saves a few bucks. Luckily, I don’t need a card for Salvation Army.
    I keep my old wallet, ripped out seams and all, as a memento of days gone by. The punch cards are in there with old receipts and to-do lists from my youth as an uncool high-school mom. They are in a box of “stuff I couldn’t part with” when my daughters went to college. Each daughter has their own box of “stuff.” Four years have gone by, and each year they take out their own box, tinker with the contents, throw out “trash” and keep the “good stuff.” The “just had to have” outfit from 10th grade (cost $$$ and sent my punch card to platinum status) was the first to go, but the team towels and band shirts stayed (“Mom, let’s make a quilt.”)
    This year my oldest daughter graduated from college, moved for a full time job and took her “stuff” with her. I went to reclaim her room: maybe a craft room, a nice guest room, or maybe just open space. (I’m thinking: Yoga on the rug without dog hair. Soft music while writing a friend. Space to occupy without guilt or hearing the dishwasher.) I approached these prospects with glee. Trash bag and vacuum in hand, I entered my daughter’s room cautiously. I had always kept honored their private space. Despite the move, the room was hardly empty. The closet was still full. The furniture was gone, but piles of stuff and dust fluffs remained, just as she had left them. She had told me that whatever was left I could throw or give away, or keep as I wished.
    Recall your punch cards. Like an archeologist, I studied the remains (oh, how my Master Card had bled), Among piles of clothes, underwear and shoes that didn’t fit, were worn out, or didn’t rate, the trappings of high school days were now starkly visible. The Homecoming mum was still hanging in the closet, with the prom dress, high heels and matching bag. In the corner, her favorite doll, tattered and threadbare from babyhood, was wrapped securely in its blanket. Her first ballet tutu and little pink shoes from age 6 were behind the formals. Along with those, the confirmation dress from age 13, the Invention Convention trophy from 8th grade, her cast from her broken leg in 9th grade, and her senior medals were all there. I found old class notes, ticket stubs, friends’ pictures, unmated socks, candy wrappers and dried up nail polish. The team t-shirts were bundled, ready to tackle as my next craft project. Her worn out track shoes and swimsuits filled the closet floor (I recalled the credit card bills:“*sigh*”.) Funny, I never thought of my old wallet, even though I still have it.

  2. An update on Phase2:
    After weeks, I have not made progress turning my daughter’s bedroom into my personal haven. I blog to confess. I just don’t have the guts to throw out the tutu, the mum, or the Invention Convention trophy. They might need to stay. What to do, Uncool Mom? I called my daughter to make sure she really didn’t want these things; she said, “Mom, I really don’t care, but you should hang on to Darlene” (her doll.) Maybe the T-shirt quilt would be therapeutic. At least there isn’t any dog hair.
    Oh, yeah, about that wallet. I got a new one. It’s in great condition—there’s not a whole lot in it. My memory box, however, is full.

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