I woke up this morning with a craving for Cheerios. I ran to Duane Reade and weaved my way to Aisle 4. Grabbing a big yellow box, I simultaneously reached into my exquisite poly patent hobo bag for my keychain and Dollar Rewards card. I sprinted across the front of store to beat an old lady with a walker and a cart full of Depends and hoisted my box and card across the counter to the check out girl. The one with the seven inch purple tips. You know the one.
"Oh we don't take them cards anymore. Don't you see them signs?"
I glanced around and spotted a larger than life sign saying "Dollar Rewards cards are still good, just not at our store" and a picture of a hand using the card as a guitar pick. How clever.
"You can turn that card in for a DR Flex Rewards card."
She tossed a new card at me. Without thinking, I started unscrewing the ball on my signature Tiffany keychain (the same one I got with my car keys on my 16th birthday) and pulled the old card off and slipped the new one on. I forked over $4.89, took my big yellow box and newly decorated keychain and hustled out the door.
While finishing my "commute" to work, I admired the new card. It doesn't match the color palette of my keychain nearly as well as the old one did. It's got way fewer scratches, nicks and dents than my old one. And not nearly as many memories. I got my Dollar Rewards card my first week in New York. 18 years-old and on my own in the city, I used it to buy school supplies for NYU, toiletries and Christmas decorations for my first dorm room and at the end of the year, tape to seal my boxes after my first year of college. Sophomore and junior year, I used it for beer because everyone knew that Duane Reade on 14th Street didn't card. At the end of the summer after my junior year, I used it to buy supplies as I packed for my semester abroad in London. And when I returned to NYC after my time away, I found a new Duane Reade in midtown and used my card to buy dish washing detergent for my first apartment (and first dishwasher!). It bought kitten food for my new babies and fish food for Gary, Shari and then Carrie (may they all rest in peace). When 2006 became 2007, and I prepared to spend my first New Year's Eve in the city, my card got me some free googly glasses and party supplies. And when I moved into my first roommate-less "big-girl" apartment, I used my card for cleaning supplies, cleaning supplies and more cleaning supplies as I lived through a gut renovation of my kitchen and bathroom. And then this year? I used my card to purchase my first Christmas tree (all 24" of it) and a silver garland that's like the gift-that-keeps-on-giving with all the metallic silver scraps that are left in my carpet weeks after it was taken down. Throughout the years, my card has bought 1st, 21st, 30th, 50th and 90th birthday cards for friends and family; countless Mother's and Father's Day cards and hundreds of "Share a Laugh" cards. My card has lived on numerous keychains, although somewhat fitting, it lived its last day on the same keychain on which it started.
I didn't even think to keep my little blue Dollar Rewards card; it was swept into the garbage can at Duane Reade before I could even request it as a keepsake. As I sit here remembering the things the card has bought and the places the card has been, I can't help but feel excited about the things this new card will buy: more cards for milestones reached, decorations for holidays to-come and snacks for gatherings in the future. By tomorrow, I probably won't even miss the little blue card. I'll be excited about all the savings my new little while card will provide. Although I checked the website: the rewards aren't nearly as frequent or exciting. But that's a whole 'nother post.