This week I think is a good opportunity to address a few reminders and clarify some questions and concerns we've recently had about our points system and our gift cards.
What points system do you use?
We use Five Stars, which is a nationally recognized and widely used system. It allows us and you to manage points so much easier by tying them to your phone number of choice (which you key in yourself on the tablet at the counter when you sign up) instead of trying to keep track of a physical card. It also sends you intermittent benefits by text or email generated directly from the system. I'll get to that in a moment!
How do I earn points?
Points are given dollar-for-dollar on all regular priced purchases. When you reach 250 points ($250 spent) you earn $25 off your next regular priced purchase should to choose to use it. If you choose to save it, and reach 450 points ($450 spent) you receive 25% off your next regular priced purchase
Do my points expire?
Any points you are given from a purchase you make never expire - the points are there until you use them and they stay attached to the phone number provided when you signed up for the system. If you only make it our way a couple times a year for shop hops, or see us a couple times a week, it doesn't matter; your earned points will stay secure.
Can the benefits be split out or combined?
No. If you have both discounts earned from points ($25 or 25%), you can only use one of them, and on regular priced purchases only. If you have one of the system generated benefits, it cannot be combined with your earned points discount or any sale prices. When you use the $25, you must use it in its entirety in a single purchase. We cannot give you cash or credit change for the difference, or award the leftover points back. This is pretty typical of most points/benefits systems.
Do you keep track of my phone number?
No. First of all we we do not track your phone number to use it in any other way than for you to access your points. The system uses it, and only if it is a cell phone number, to text you those intermittent discounts. Those are not generated by us. Secondly, we do not keep a list of what phone number you used when you signed up, and unfortunately, we don't have the bandwidth to stop and look this up for you in the office while we are at the counter. However, you can check it at any time on the Five Stars website. If you signed up with more than one phone number, you will need to choose which number you want to use; we cannot and do not decide that for you. It is up to you to decide which one you want to use. If time permits, I do try to add points if I can find a number or name through the Five Stars site. Sometimes this works, and other times it is only as good as the information given.
I had a freebie discount and/or birthday discount sent to me by Five Stars, but I can't see it anymore - is it still valid?
Unlike the points you earn through your purchases, there ARE time limits on all of the discounts Five Stars sends you through their system. They are good about displaying what that time limit is, but we will always know if it is still active if it pops up for us on the tablet when you check out. If it doesn't come up, it is expired. There is no way for us to alter this, because we did not send it. The point of these discounts from Five Stars is to get you to come in and use them.
If I pass the expiration date on one of the Five Star discounts I am sent, can I get it back in cash or store credit?
No. Those discounts are not equivalent to cash. Think of them more like a coupon - coupons expire, and so do these offers. If it is expired, we cannot honor it as it will not show up in the system anymore. So if you are sent one and want to use it, be sure to check on when your special expires so you can plan a trip to the shop to use it while it is active. Otherwise, you will have another opportunity to spend your Five Stars perk the next time they send one out. We try to be very fair with giving points - we accepted Greenbaums' points cards so no one lost out after they closed - but at the same time, we do have to consider the business too.
About gift cards:
We have changed to paper gift cards due to the high monthly cost of maintaining the system (and it is the ONLY thing we use it for). To prevent passing that cost on, we are changing back to paper gift cards. We will honor the plastic gift cards until June 30, 2020. If you have a plastic gift card in your possession today, please use it or convert it to a paper gift certificate by June 30, 2020. We cannot honor the plastic gift cards past June 30, 2020. New gift certificates will also have a one year expiration for use. As a business we have to keep track of those, although it is hard to imagine being able to hold on to a gift certificate for fabric for that long (I know it would sure burn a hole in my pocket)!
Each small business has to decide for themselves how to run their programs, and I hope this helps gives some insight to our punch cards and gift certificates. Most certainly you will run across other ways businesses manage these features - which is totally okay..there is no hard and fast way to do it. These are part of doing business, and we like doing them and will continue to do so, but we want to make sure that there is transparency and understanding so they continue to be a win-win for everyone!