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: Went to The Mall today to get a blender gasket to replace the gasket I broke earlier this week. While I was there I redeemed some Suncoast play money for a copy of Jackie Chan's Legend of Drunken Master.

I joined Suncoast's laughably-named 'Replay Club' about a year ago when I bought a bunch of MST3K videotapes from them. I was spending enough in that one transaction that it was a net gain for me to pay my way into their club and take advantage of the discount you got from club membership. Every so often thereafter I recieved a lavishly produced magazine/promotional rag from them which I would promptly throw away. You hear about targeted marketing, and then you actually give a company a chance to learn all sorts of detailed information about your viewing preferences, and instead of the MST3K Martial Arts Godzilla Stomp Newsletter you get damn Saving Private Ryan in the mail every month.

The discount you get from club membership comes out to 5%, but it's not 5% at the register. Instead, you accumulate points. One point is worth one cent, and every time you accumulate 10,000 points (having spent $100) you recieve $5 in funny money in the mail. It's the same racket as gift certificates; they're banking that you won't redeem the funny money and that if you do, you'll buy other stuff on top of the value of the funny money.

This knowledge bore heavily upon me. If I didn't redeem my $15 in funny money for a video costing $15, Suncoast would effectively have $15 of my money. What's more, the terrorists would have won. Powerful as these incentives were, I had to steel myself to set foot in Suncoast, because shopping there (or at Sam Goody or any other store owned by the same company) is a huge pain. The cashiers are under directions to, before ringing up your purchase, subject you to a seemingly never-ending sales pitch. It's like willingly walking into a telemarketing call. Now that my Replay account has expired, two more steps have been added to the sales pitch, so it's a good thing I no longer have any reason to go there.

At great personal risk, I have reverse-engineered the sales pitch and present it below. This does not include all the "Are you sure? [Y/N]" steps.

The weird thing is, the guy in line in front of me actually responded positively to some aspects of the pitch! I guess I shouldn't be surprised, because Suncoast would discontinue the pitch if it didn't occasionally bear fruit, but it was odd to see someone who actually wanted to see the list of new and upcoming releases.

Though my membership is expired, Suncoast is still sending me the Saving Private Ryan Monthly advertising supplements. Said supplements now have cover covers begging me to renew my membership and continue the cycle of dependency. I'm sort of interested as to how long they can keep this up. The marginal cost of sending out one more supplement is nil, but it's not inconceivable that at some point pure shame will get them to give up rather than try to coax a renewal of a membership that lapsed 10 years ago.


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