There have been a few posts about playing the store and not the game that lodged into my head. Milenomics posted it once on his blog and again in his interview on Saverocity for #milemadness. We’ve also seen it on MilesAbound where he titles it as his best secret to Manufactured Spending.
I will add to their collective wisdom and write that, “please” and “thank you” go very very far. I also would include a “hi” to acknowledge their presence.
Here are my experiences of how being polite will work in your favor:
I’ll start off with my bad experience:
- I walked into a Duane Reade I don’t frequent and I wanted to buy a OneVanilla with credit. The mistake I made was trying to pay with an American Express gift card. They quickly shot it down with a “you can’t buy a gift card with a gift card”
The good experiences:
- Build a rapport at the store and the customer service reps
- Once the store knows you, you can get away with a lot of things. In my daily routine, I swing by the CVS and purchase OneVanilla cards with the American Express gift card and they don’t bat an eyelash. We’re on a first name basis
- Having visited the check cashing place multiple times and knowing the procedure, the clerks know me as the guy always using a debit card. They no longer ask to verify my ID or the debit card being used
That being said, outside of robbing the store or breaking any laws, I can get away with everything because of being polite. If we can’t teach you to be humble, respectful, and not act like the original poster in this FT thread then manufactured spending is not going to be easy.