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Opinion Editorials

Why the IKEA Family Card is pretty much useless

(Editorial) The IKEA Family Card and other retailers’ discount cards are useless, despite your having to give up your personal identity to join a club that never benefits you.

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ikea family card

IKEA Family Card: I’m not a fan

Know what really grinds my gears? The fact that every big box retailer under the sun wants to exchange your information for a few discounts here and there. It’s an age-old practice, but one that retailers are getting pretty aggressive about. “Download our app!” “Sign up for this discount card!” “Give us your email and first born, and you’ll get a free cookie!” “Download our other app!”

One of my least favorite of the bunch is the IKEA Family Card. Put aside the fact that it sounds like it excludes unmarried people without kids, it is a simple card that the brand is pimping pretty hard. We do an embarrassingly high amount of shopping at IKEA – it’s fun for us and the kids. The maze is a blast, and we love the inexpensive doodads you didn’t know you needed, the minimalist shelving, it’s all a win.

But the kiosks that sucker you in with promises of discounts and an instant orange card suck.

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The problem with this card and many other big box cards is that it asks for all of your information (phone number, address, email, DNA sequences, and so forth), and the carrot is a discount. Sure, this particular card gives you a 90 day price guarantee, but of the last 10 trips I’ve taken, not once as the discount applied to anything I was actually buying.

Not once.

What should retailers be doing?

Tell you what, retailers. If you want to give me a useless card, that’s fine, but don’t ask me for so much information in exchange for 20 cents off of a random cup I’ll never buy, just ask me for an email address (that I’ll never check). If you want to give me a useful card that offers a discount up front (like Target’s amazing Red Card), I’m happy to give you all of my information (hell, I’ll throw in one of my cats).

The problem is that as a society, we’ve given up on guarding our personal information and because we filter out so much noise and blacklist emails from retailers we were forced to give our identity to, the quest for the retailer to connect with the consumer has been rendered pointless.

Offer something useful if you want my information or leave me alone. Enough with the dangling carrot that doesn’t impact my shopping experience.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. The Internet

    September 3, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Are you that fucking paranoid? This is the digital age, get with the program. And for what it’s worth, it’s not Ikea’s fault you haven’t purchased anything on sale. They offer a ton of stuff every month at 15% off for Family members, so your argument that nothing is discounted clearly has no base.

    Now how hypocritical is it that I have to provide my e-mail address just to leave a comment…

  2. Shmucky

    November 4, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    I get free coffee and tea, not to mention hot chocolate

    If you want other discounts go to the IKEA kitchen are and grab yourself a glass so you can drink from their wonderful soda refill machines

  3. Nicole

    June 19, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    I just saved 3 bucks on a bag of candy today, my husband got free coffee, we got 90 minutes of kid free shopping, and we saved a few dollars on our overall purchase. I think a cookie tray was on special. I’d say it was worth the info exchange. Especially since we rarely receive IKEA emails.

    • Lani Rosales

      June 20, 2016 at 10:42 am

      That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing, Nicole!

  4. Not feeling like FAMILY

    July 5, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    I signed up for this card in an effort to receive a discount on a particular item as stated online, but when I tried to add my new Family Membership Card to the purchase, it tells me that IKEA Family doesn’t work for IKEA-USA, wtf? So why state a discounted price on an item, with a membership that doesn’t even work from my location? Additionally, this items discount is also stated in our location’s physical store, so it’s clearly not a www issue. What a waste of time. And good luck to getting through on the phone for questions.

  5. Amy

    February 25, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    I just got $15 worth of free merchandise without having to buy anything. Plus I got a free meatball meal and a free Daim cake slice. Birthday rewards. No purchase necessary. So there’s that.

  6. jwc

    June 3, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    ….definitely not useless, last time I went to ikea this “useless” card saved me almost $70

  7. Warren

    May 14, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    Ikea Family turned out to be a bad choice for our first time ordering furniture online. Their contracted delivery service managed to drop the shipment off at the wrong house nowhere near where we live then forged an acceptance signature. Calling Ikea managed to get us a case number to try and resolve this. They would send out another shipment in two weeks and not charge delivery fee. Nice. Two weeks later, the day before our delivery stated online, we called to confirm delivery. Guess what: no one knows a thing about any shipment. They offered to ship again in two weeks. Really? No, we are having none of it. We learned the hard way.

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Opinion Editorials

How the Bullet Journal method has been hijacked and twisted

(EDITORIAL) I’m a big fan of the Bullet Journal method, but sticker-loving tweens have hijacked the movement. Worry not, I’m still using black and white bullet points with work tasks (not “pet cat,” or “smile more”).

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It’s taken me some time to come around to the Bullet Journal method, because it took me some time to fully understand it (I have a tendency to overthink simplicity). Now that I understand the use, I find it very beneficial for my life and my appreciation for pen-to-paper.

In short, it’s a quick and simple system for organization tasks and staying focused with everything you have going on. All you need to employ this method is a journal with graph or dotted paper, and a pen. Easy.

However, there seems to be this odd truth that: we find ways to simplify complicated things, and we find ways to complicate simple things. The latter is exactly what’s happened with the Bullet Journal method, thanks to creative people who show the rest of us up.

To understand what I’m talking about, open up Instagram (or Pinterest, or even Google) and just search “bullet journal.” You’ll soon find post after post of frilly, sticker-filled, calligraphy-laden journal pages.

The simple method of writing down bullets of tasks has been hijacked to become a competitive art form.

Don’t get me wrong, I like looking at this stuff because I dig the creativity. But, do I have time to do that myself? No! For honesty’s sake, I’ve tried just for fun and it takes too much damn time.

With this is mind, this new-found method of Bullet Journaling as an art is something that: a) defeats the purpose of accomplishing tasks quickly as you’re setting yourself back with the nifty art, and b) entrepreneurs, freelancers, executives, or anyone busy would not have time for.

Most of these people posting artistic Bullet Journal pages on Instagram are younger and have more time on their hands (and if you want to spend your time doing that, do you, man).

But, it goes against the simplistic method of Bullet Journaling. The intent of the method.

And, beneath the washi tape, stickers, and different colored pens, usually lies a list of: put away laundry, feed cat, post on Insta. So, this is being done more for the sake of art than for employing the method.

Again, I’m all for art and for people following their passions and creativities, but it stands to reason that this should be something separate from the concept of Bullet Journaling, as it has become a caricature of the original method.

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Opinion Editorials

The perfect comeback to that earnest MLM guy you meet at every coffee shop

(EDITORIAL) We’ve all been cornered by someone that wants to offer us financial freedom for joining their pyramid scheme, but we typically freeze or just reject them. There’s another way…

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The following editorial was penned by Chris Johnson who offers the perfect comeback to that stranger who approaches you in Starbucks or that person you haven’t talked to since high school that wants to discuss your financial freedom:

Last week, I was at Starbucks, doing some marketing work. This was apparent to all who could view my laptop by the big 72 type “Marketing” headline that I was working on in my browser.

A man sharing a table, with no apparent laptop of his own, was taking interest in what I was doing. He was mid-40s and he was ambiently stalking and sizing everyone around him up. He was swallowing and always “about to talk.”

Finally, after I looked up to collect my thoughts, he broke my reverie.

“Are you in marketing?”

See, our man (Justin was his name) had just stated a business, an e-commerce business. He was vague on his details.

I knew where this was going. We all know.

Anyone that’s ever worked from a Starbucks has met Justin.

Justin mentioned a couple of his relatives, also with businesses. And, without asking what type of clients I serve, told me that they’d be a great fit for me. He’d love to introduce me, if we could just exchange contact info.

I knew exactly what he was doing. As God as my witness, I knew the only place where this interaction would possibly go. I wasn’t, not for a minute, fooled by the promise of referrals that would never happen.

Of course, I give it to him, not because I think there’s any hope that this will work out. But because I want to know. We exchange texts, and I save his contact info.

He excuses himself and gets into his 2002 rusty Kia, and drives off.

The next day, I get a call with the ID: MLM GUY STARBUCKS 2019.

“Chris, we met at Starbucks,” he says, “This is Justin. And I was wondering if you were open to financial opportunities for your family.”

Well, knock me over with a feather. This was such a surprise.

Without a plan in my head, I said “Justin, are you in the Amway organization? Because if so, I have been waiting for your call.”

Justin confirmed that yes, he was in Amway. And he was really glad!

“Justin, I’ve got some great news for YOU, would you like to hear about it?”

“Sure,” he goes.

“OK, well, you have to be open – and committed – to improving your relationship with Amway. Is that something you’re open to right now?”

“Yes,” he said, “Definitely.”

“Great. So let me tell you about what I do with the Amway people I meet. See, I’ve made a really profitable career out of helping them, and it’s turned into the focus of my life.” This is, of course, a lie, but we were even because Justin got my phone number on the pretext of referring me business.

“OK, so the deal is this. One of the problems with Amway is that it turns you into someone that has to monetize all of your family and friends. And when that happens, you become less about the relationship, and more about the money. Has that happened to you?”

“Yes. Yes it has.” Justin admits.

“Yes, great, this is what we’re hearing.”

The words tumbled out of my mouth: “See all over America there are Amway distributors, just like you. They are chained to various Starbuckses. This is the old model, there’s simply no freedom.

They have to fight tooth and nail to get appointments and most of ’em don’t go anywhere. For most of the Amway owners, this isn’t working once they pitch all their friends and all their family.

So I’ve created an organization called Amway Freedom. All you have to do is sign up. By signing up, you agree to automatically pay $5.00 per month to me, to be free of Amway.

But the REALLY good news is that you can sign OTHER people up, and keep half of the money for your family and your freedom. And when they sign up, half goes to support the reps, and the other half goes to support your opportunity!

From what I hear, over 1.5 million Americans signed up for Amway at some point. Tell me, Justin, if you got just 1% of that market – 15,000 people to pay you $5.00 a month without you having to do anything, would that change your life?

Would $75,000 per month change your life?”

Justin said “Um, well, this isn’t really what I was think-”

“Look Justin, this isn’t for everyone. I know that. Most people won’t be able to take advantage of this opportunity. They only think of the problems. They can’t imagine how this could work, a business with no merchandise and freedom.

But, Justin, you’re helping people get free of the endless random meetings… the Starbucks bills… the gas expenses. You’re turning your story of struggle into a story of success. Are you ready, Justin?

This is my business,” I said, “And this is what I want for you, Justin. Are you ready to join your challenge and fight for the freedom of 1.5 million people that have tried Amway?”

“Um…” Justin said. “I just don’t.”

“I see. This might not be working for you, Justin, and that’s 100% OK. Take all the time you need. But, if you sign up today, I’ll offer you the EXCLUSIVE market rights to help free people from Younique, Herbalife, Infinitus and over 30 other household brands. That makes a market – just in America – of 20 million Americans! Doesn’t that sound great, Justin? If you captured just 1% of that, that’s 200,000. And that business would earn 1 million every MONTH.

All without products to store, all while helping people.

Will you be paying with a Visa or Mastercard?”

Justin paused for a moment. “This was a waste of my time,” he finally said.

“You don’t really have a business!” he spat.

Well done, Justin, well done indeed.

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Opinion Editorials

Funny females are less likely to be promoted

(CAREER) Science says that the funnier a female, the less likely she is to be promoted. Uhh…

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funny females promoted less often

Faceless keyboard warriors around the world have been — incorrectly — lamenting that women just aren’t funny for years now (remember the “Ghostbusters” remake backlash?).The good news is they are obviously wrong. The bad news? When women dare to reveal their comedic side in the workplace they are often perceived as “disruptive” while men are rewarded.

That’s right. Women not only have to worry about being constantly interrupted, receiving raises less frequently than men despite asking for them equally as often, and still making nearly $10,000 less than men each year, but now they have to worry about being too funny at the office.

A recent University of Arizona study asked more than 300 people to read the fictional resume of a clothing store manager with the gender-neutral name “Sam” and watch a video presentation featuring Sam. The videos came in four versions: a serious male speaker, a humorous male speaker, a serious female speaker and a humorous female speaker.

According to the researchers, “humorous males are ascribed higher status compared with nonhumorous males, while humorous females are ascribed lower status compared with nonhumorous females.” Translation: Male workers earn respect for being funny while their funny female coworkers are often seen in a more negative light.

There are, of course, several reasons this could be the case. The researchers behind this particular study pointed to the stereotype that women are more dedicated to their families than their work, and being perceived as humorous could convey the sense they don’t take their work as seriously as men.

Psychiatrist Prudy Gourguechon offered another take, putting the blame directly on Sam the clothing store manager, calling out their seemingly narcissistic behavior and how society’s tolerance for such behavior is “distinctly gender-based.” She says these biases go back to the social programming of our childhoods and the roles mothers and fathers tend to play in our upbringing.

So what are women supposed to do with this information?

Gourgechon’s status quo advice includes telling women to not stop being funny, but “to be aware of the the feelings and subjectivities of the people around you.” While recommending an empathetic stance isn’t necessarily bad advice, it still puts the onus on women to change their behavior, worry about what everyone else thinks and attempt to please everyone around them.

We already know that professional women can have an extremely hard time remaining true to themselves in the workplace — especially women in the tech industry — and authenticity is often a privilege saved for those who conform to the accepted culture. We obviously still have a long way to go before women stop being “punished” for being funny at work, but things seem to be progressing, however slowly.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama shared her thoughts last year on the improvements that have been made and the changes that still need to happen, including encouraging men to step up and do their part. In the wake of the #metoo movement, CNBC recommended five things men can do to support women at work. There are amazing women in STEM positions around the world we can all admire and shine a spotlight on.

All of these steps — both big and small — will continue to chip away at the gender inequality that permeates today’s workplaces. And perhaps one day in the near future, female clothing store manager Sam will be allowed to be just as funny as male clothing store manager Sam.

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