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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Shop at a Small Business: Amex $25 Credit

I posted about this last year. For some reason (I would like to know who's paying for it: AMEX or the merchants), AMEX offers a $25 statement credit if you shop at a small business on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. You have to register your card.

I did this last year and was skeptical about the whole thing. I thought it was a hoax. So I used the credit at the little grocery store down the road. And, by golly, I got the credit!

This year, I noticed small print to the effect that different cards on the same account must be registered separately. WHAT??? We have 4 cards on our account: me, Mr FS, Frugal Son (emergencies only), Miss Em (ditto).

You can look up qualifying small businesses on the site. Mr FS and I want to go to the little grocery. Miss Em wants to go to UAL, which we have shunned this year, because she tends to overbuy at their 80% off prices. And Frugal Son plans a trip to St James cheese, which is truly a paradise.

We don't do Black Friday chez Frugal. We don't really do malls any time. But venturing out on Saturday to a little store: seems like a possibility.


Punk Glam Queen said...

The merchants pay the fee -- AmEx and Discover (with its cash back rewards -- merchants pay for that too) are the two CC co's with the highest fees. When I had a shop and started accepting CC's, I wouldn't accept those two. Eventually, when as a small business, you loose a few too many big sales you wind up accepting them. I do suppose it's nice that they're encouraging shopping at small businesses though. They can really use the boost during the holiday season -- especially if you can pay cash!

Shelley said...

"Black Friday" is not a concept we have here in the UK, obviously because there is no Thanksgiving holiday. If I buy a magazine, I get it at the corner shop, run by a neighbour. If I get anything bike related, I do so at the bike shop next to the corner shop, run by a friend's son. I discovered a local florist who gave great value for money and I return to her. If I'm going to buy something anyhow, I try to buy local, but as a general rule, my first thought is where I can get things I need the cheapest. Black Friday looks like insane greed to me and I gather it doesn't really save money in the end. I've just been invited to apply for a points-back credit card from my credit union. For some reason I look at this with suspicion...will have to go back and read the fine print.

Duchesse said...

I guess, if the merchant can opt in or not, they have decided to see if it draws enough business to make it worthwhile.

In my city, the merchants host a late-opening evening, with hot cider, cookies etc. There are sometimes specials. This seems better than offering money off on a credit card purchase.

Shelley, re "doesn't save money in the end", it can; you have to know the regular price and compare.

re "looks like insane greed":
Greed is defined as "an excessive desire to possess more than one needs". Offering sales and promotions does not *create* greed; greed comes from people's desires- what they want and think they "deserve". And just like Happy Hour, offering what people want at a discounted price encourages some people go overboard. (Others will just say, "no thanks".)

I don't blame merchants for people's lack of control.

Claire R. said...

Shelley - I live in the US and "Black Friday" is a relatively recent creation. The Friday after our Thanksgiving is considered the "biggest shopping day of the year" and merchants can make a huge proportion of their annual profit on that day, as you may know. The label Black Friday is relatively new in the vast common lexicon. I'd be willing to bet there's a similar phenomenon in the UK, and also that it's earlier than the end of November.
I don't think "greed" is a felicitous term here. People are buying gifts to give to others, particularly their loved ones. Or they are buying stuff to make their houses welcoming and cozy for their holiday guests. Customers may well be shopping out of a kind of greed but merchants are only doing what merchants do - get bodies into the stores and push their inventory. Last, in lots of the US - I live in San Diego - there are simply no local small businesses within walking distance. I would like some but we just do not have them. No judgements intended here, just some facts. Happy Holidays!

Shelley said...

Shopping on Small Business Saturday sounds like it might be a better deal for the consumer than for the small business merchant...Hmmm...

WAHM Shelley... :)