Advantages Loyalty rewards and entry into monthly competitions
Disadvantages Can be a chore
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Admittedly I've always been a sucker for reward schemes and this is certainly one in it's true form, so when I heard about the idea I thought I'd give it a go.Fact Finders is a company who specialise in researching people's shopping habits for the benefit of market research. Presumably they then sell this information to supermarket chains for a large profit. And, being the kind people they obviously are, they like to share some of this profit with the people who make it all possible (mugs like me). How nice.
When you become a member, Fact Finders send you a keypad with a built in barcode scanner (A "wand", as they call it). This is accompanied by a base unit and a "panel member file". The idea is that every time you, or any member of your household does any grocery shopping (including top-ups between shop-ups), you must scan all items bought, inputting the price of each item as well as any special offers. The wand then slots neatly into the base unit, which is connected permanently to your phone line. Once a week, in the early hours of the morning, the company then retrieves the information from the wand through your phone line. The base unit also acts as a charger for the wand.In return for your efforts Fact Finders rewards you with a points scheme. You are given a regular amount of points each month as well as two months worth of points when you join to start you off. These points can then be exchanged for a wide range of goods from the catalogue which is included in the member file. You are also entered into monthly competitions to win prizes such as cars and holidays.
Flicking through the catalogue was naturally the first thing I did. I was thrilled to see it included everything from toasters to Playstation 2s. Then I began to look at the points needed for each item. Conveniently, the points you begin with are not enough for anything. So I decided to work out how long it would take before I could exchange my points for anything useful. A widescreen TV had already taken my fancy. I was disappointed to discover that the TV was not going to be mine for more than six years. In fact, I was more than two years away from a toaster. Perhaps it can talk.It is not all as bad as that though. You can get 5 re-writable cds after just a couple of months or a pleasant-looking desk light if you can bear to hang on for a couple more.
The wand is slightly difficult to use at first, but the member file contains a step-by-step guide in case of any difficulties. Scanning all your shopping can be a bit of a chore but it's not too bad once you get into the swing of it.The base unit does not interfere with the telephone, except when it is sending information. As this happens in the early hours anyway, it is not likely to cause much inconvenience, and if anybody does wish to get through, they only need call twice to break the wand's connection.
Should you wish to become a member of Fact Finders, you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.If, like me, you are a reward-scheme fanatic, there are a couple of other internet sites I would recommend.
The first is ipoints.com - chances are you will have already come across this one at some point. This site awards various (but generous) amounts of points for completing surveys and signing up for other websites.The second is the lesser known emysteryshopper.com. This site pays you money for visting sites and reviewing them. It pays very well (around £3.50 per survey plus any additional expenses) and offers a good number of surveys. The site is also far more professional than most others of its kind.
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