Here is what happens when I try to check out at any grocery, hardware, shoe, or clothing store (I know it happens to you too):

I load your items onto the belt and the cashier rings them up. I hand over my coupons, and the cashier bags up my goods.

Then it begins:

“Do you have our loyalty card?”


“Do you want to sign up for one?”

“No, thank you.”

“It’s free.”

“No thank you. I don’t shop here very often.”

“It just takes a moment—”


Once we’re through with that, we’re onto phase two of checkout hazing. This one is popular at Sam’s Club and department stores.

“Are you paying with your Macy’s charge card today?”

“No. My Visa.”

“Would you like to open a Macy’s charge card today?”

About here is where my teeth start to grind. “No thank you.”

“You could save ten percent on today’s order.”


“Can I have an e-mail address for coupons?”

At this point, please use your imagination to conjure the image of my exploding head.

I wasn’t hassled this much by sales people the last time I bought a used car.

I want a loyalty card that gives me access to a special check-out line. One in which the cashier rings up and bags my items, makes causal chit-chat (or not, their choice), and then takes my money and lets me leave.  Doesn’t ask me to fill out any forms, sign up for any cards, or wants my e-mail address so the store can continue the harassment in my inbox after I manage to escape their clutches in the store.

I’d even pay for it.