Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Sucked into the murky world of free hot beverages ...

I'm one swirl away from a free coffee.
If there's one thing I've learned since I retired it's that old people love a hot beverage; and if it's accompanied by cake, so much the better.
Actually, that's true of the entire population, including my wife, who makes a great show of not wanting cake but then sulks because you won't give her any of yours.
The difference with old people is that they prefer not to pay for their coffee - nothing tastes better than a free latte.
The scandal is that many supermarkets and other stores have been exploiting this addiction by offering various deals to tempt the pensioners. Garden centres are also shameless pushers of caffeine to the over-60s
My sister, who has a wide knowledge of where to get a free cuppa, tried to get two free coffees from Waitrose in one day, but was foiled by their high-tech computerised anti-fraud system, which is specifically designed to catch coffee-addicted pensioners trying to sneak an additional fix in any 24-hour period. Her free coffee was snatched from her grasp and now she has to don sunglasses and a headscarf to avoid being recognised.
You wouldn’t catch my friend Tony falling foul of such a basic mistake. He has a wallet full of cards and vouchers and never pays for a cup of coffee anywhere.
At Waitrose, he can get a free coffee, free newspaper and free parking every day just by spending £1 on essential groceries (which he would have bought anyway). Once a month, he dines at Patisserie Valerie on their finest pastries, breakfasts at B&Q and sups at Sainsbury’s.
I have also been sucked into this world of caffeine rewards. Tony is onto the best deals anywhere and I thought I’d found one that he didn’t know about when I happened into B&Q and (as an over-60) was offered a Diamond Discount card giving me 10 per cent off all goods every Wednesday.
I mentioned this to Tony thinking he’d be impressed, but he knew all about it already and explained he had since abandoned B&Q for a better offer elsewhere. He did have in his wallet a B&Q loyalty card with three stamps and explained he was on first-name terms with the Polish girl who worked in the cafe. Three more stamps and I would be entitled to a free coffee.

On Wednesday, Margaret and I went in to get some household items (with 10 per cent discount) and I got two more stamps on the card. B&Q has switched from stars to swirls (apparently dishonest pensioners were forging stars so a more complicated pattern had to be adopted). I’m now one swirl away from my first free coffee.