Punch Cards

great stuff, great staffApple Tree Quilts in Flushing, Michigan has the right idea. It’s a blast to go in there because they have great stuff and great staff.  How many other folks would pose for a photograph knowing it would wind up in one of my lectures? (Email them at ATQuilts@sbcglobal.net)

Apple Pickin' CardThey also have punch cards. I lose about one punch card for every one they start for me, which is probably par for the course when it comes to punch cards. That might even be why merchants offer them; what do I know.  But, if and when the lost punch cards show up, they’ll combine them for me. 

The punch card for Apple Tree Quilts is themed. I like that too. It’s an apple tree and  it’s called an Apple Pickin’ Card. I got another one today. I put it in my wallet this time. Or my coat pocket. Wait, it might be in the bag…

We’ve been going to the same Chinese buffet for about 12 years, way more times a week than I’d like to admit. They have punch cards too but I’m not as impressed. Not nearly. 

Too many punch cards bad for pocketbook.

Every time Steve and eat there we each get one punch. One for each meal. But they insist on punching TWO separate punch cards. We come in together, we sit at the same table, we go to the buffet tables together, our meals are on the same bill, and yet we each get the equivalent of a punch, but on TWO cards. This makes me crazy!

They won’t put both punches on the SAME card. Everybody else does that.  And they won’t combine the cards. Argh! We can’t keep track of the dumb punch cards any better than the ones for Apple Tree Quilts and so we keep getting new punch cards, and losing those. Over a decade of dining and we’ve gotten maybe three free meals!

I have explained that we are good customers. We don’t hog the crab legs. We don’t eat for three hours solid to “get our money’s worth.”  We are polite to the staff and other diners. We respect the sneeze shield, unlike some patrons who reach under there like they plan on crawling in with the Pepper Shrimp. We tip. We keep coming back. We feel like idiots.

Administering a “loyalty program” that makes your customers angry and/or feeling stupid is a fairly bad marketing plan. We should just eat elsewhere. But it’s so convenient. And, if given enough time I’m sure I could make them see the light.

I have a plan. The next time we go there I’m going to make Steve go in first and get seated. Then I’ll come in and pretend I don’t know him.  I’ll snag the table right next to his. Instead of talking face to face, we’ll pass notes back and forth. We’ll linger over the fried rice and exchange news of the day, as if we just happened to bump into each other. When it’s time for the bills, we’ll get two! First he’ll pay and (get punched) and stuff the punch card behind the little Budda statue on the counter. Then I’ll come up to pay, just another diner, totally unrelated to the cute guy that just left. I’ll create a small diversion, perhaps by “accindentally” knocking over the pencil holder filled with rice. While the owner is cleaning that up, I’ll retrieve Steve’s punch card and present it for my dinner! HA! I will not be denied.

I just KNOW it will work. Look at what my fortune says:

Full steam ahead!

I’m going to do that the very next time we eat there.  Make that the very next time we eat there after that! Look what I just found!

Will wonders never cease?!

Now, can someone translate the “punches?”

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11 thoughts on “Punch Cards

  1. Ami, I really think your Chinese Buffet owns our Chinese Buffet because they have the same darn rules about the punch card and just smile and nod when I ask why we can’t just put it on one card. Oh well, they make the rules and we eat the food.Llynnda in Chateauguay, Quebec, just off the island of Montreal.

    I think they are all part of one big franchise. ~~Ami


  2. I too had the punch cards from a quilt store here in the LA area. I had been too busy to quilt for awhile (I know, hard to believe) but one day I rounded them all up and headed out to the store. I was so excited about a new project and figured I had enough punches to get most of what I needed. Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I got to the shoopping center and discoverd that the store had gone out of business! Now, what do I do with all the keychain /punch cards that I have!?


  3. hmmm… maybe the punches read “cheap american”? LOL btw, I can’t keep track of punch cards, either. I like my local store (it’s a craft store, but the only fabric they sell in quilting quality); they have a card, but they keep it there at the store! One less thing for me to lose…


  4. I have had frequent buyer cards from SO many businesses and rarely, if ever, have been able to claim the “reward” – Subway did away with their card program here (they did, at least, combine cards). Aside from the Kroger card (which is necessary to get the discounted prices), I decline almost all of those programs because I just don’t want to mess with the “cards” themselves. Sad – you are SO right in your sit-next-to-each-other system (but WHY are YOU having to work the system?!?!?!??!)


  5. I put all of my cards, coupons, etc (even empty printer cartridges) in a box in the car. I then only have to run outside to get my card, etc. Linda in Mo


  6. So next time you go to Apple Tree, let me know! We can go together and I can drag you over to my house and let my cat lick you. I’m only five minutes away… if that! I could drive that blindfolded!

    Deal. Especially if I get cat licks out of the deal.~~ Ami


  7. Now, if you really want to join the 21rst Century, you’ll sit there, back to back, and text each other, like the kids do.

    I can barely keep up with my two quilt shop punch cards.


  8. My favorite coffee shop has cards, which they keep in a little plastic file on the counter. I order, find my card, pay, and get it initialed. They have, I believe, 80 little squares on the card, and for every 10, you get a free coffee. There’s also a place where they mark “Regular” or “Specialty” coffee. It’s a great system in so many ways, not the least of them being that it’s green. No cards are lost, and don’t have to be repeatedly replaced. And even a die-hard coffee drinker would take a while to use it up!

    Quilt stores, and others, should do it this way.

    I’m waiting for the day they come out with “The” points card, that keeps track of all of your loyalty programs, and works at all the stores. Some day it will happen, I just know it! Until then, I have a much heavier purse than I’d like :(


  9. Ami, I am go happy to be reading your blog again and laughing out loud. You sound like your “old” (not as in years but as in your personality) self, mostly. Glad to see that your humor has survived. Without that where would any of the rest of us get our laughs??? It’s nice to know that you have survived all that has happened. Bless you!


  10. Punch cards? WHAT? My LQS has us all on computer and automatically keeps track of purchases (and therefore discounts). I have never heard of punch cards, it sounds a bit umm … old-fashioned?
    Hugs, Jasmine (in Australia where it is 45*C. I want snow!!!).


  11. The scribbles on the punchcard is the name of the signer. I have Chinese friends. Do you want a translation?


    No, but I’d like to learn how to write “You really ought to let people combine these silly things before you tick them off so much they won’t come back to your restaurant!” in Chinese so I can write that on every card. ~~ Ami


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