July 31, 2008
One of the Differences Between Migros and Coop
Migros and Coop (pronounced CO-op)are the two main grocery store chains in Switzerland. They are the very same two chains that we shopped at when I was growing up in Geneva, and now I shop at them in Zurich.
Here is a difference that I don't think existed back then...to do with the loyalty cards (which is a newer phenomenon). Of course every time you check out at the store, they ask if you have a loyalty card. At Coop, they say, "Superkarte?" (where the S sounds like a Z). At Migros they ask, "Karte Cumulus?"
Until yesterday, I had just been replying with, "Nein" (no). But then at the Coop I came up with the much more brilliant and descriptive, "Noch nicht...Ich warte" (not yet...I'm waiting for it). To get the card at the Coop, one must get a form at the Kiosk (customer service desk), fill it out and mail it in, and wait about a month. Then presumably one receives the card and can start using it. And no, they don't credit your receipts for any shopping before you receive the card. In the meantime, in exchange for your shopping, they give you miles of little stickers with a shower graphic on them, pretending that you will get airline miles and bathtime gifts with these stickers, if you take the time to stick each one individually onto a little piece of provided paper in rows of five, and bring them in later. However, once you have done this, they inform you that actually if you've stuck 120 stickers on with the help of your kids, and just want to trade them in for the miles, you have to pay 139 Francs to get the 4000 miles. I had understood about the bath products costing money (you have the honor of paying them 20, 25, 50, or 60 Francs if for some reason you want towels and bathrobes and such with a company logo on them), but I had thought the miles were actually free. Nothing is free. I took those shower stickers back so fast...and felt like it was all a royal waste of time and the stickers are worthless. If anyone wants them they can have them.
By contrast, at Migros, you go to the customer service desk, they immediately hand you a plastic card with a bar code on it, they credit you already your purchases from that day, and ask you to fill in the form later and send it in, but in the meantime you can use your new card right away. Instead of deceptive and labor-intensive shower stickers, they give you Migros coins, which you can distribute amongst your kids, who put them into a machine much like a gumball machine, except it emits big marbles! They roll down around the spiral and pop out, and if you're lucky, they give you a cloth bag at the check-out to keep the marbles in! Now there's something free and fun.
Guess which store's loyalty program I am more impressed with? However, I have yet to see what the Migros or Coop card actually does for you, if anything other than that the cashier will no longer scare you with the question of whether you have one every time.
July 31, 2008 | Permalink
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The migros will send you vouchers for stuff depending on how much you spend. Some are for rebates for stuff, for some are just cash vouchers that you can use for anything at the Migros.
At the Coop, you accumulate points, that you can use to buy stuff from a catalog. I know people who've used them, but I've not picked anything from the catalog.
Posted by: David | Aug 3, 2008 12:55:23 PM