I am a huge fan of rewards cards. I get them at every place I can, as long as it doesn't cost me anything. I have one for about 20 or so places. I know, there are some of you who "poo poo" these cards, saying "The Government" is tracking your purchases... I say, "Who cares? What am I hiding; that I buy tampons & love Burgerville??!!" Even my mother refuses to get them; choosing to use my phone number to get the discounts at places like Safeway & Fred Meyer (lucky me; I get the reward points which translates to cash, coupons, & discounts at the gas station!).
Well, guess what? Since June was my birth-month, and I have a ton of these rewards, I had a BUNCH of free & discounted stuff that was mine for the taking. I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but the ones I can remember:
1. Free burger at Red Robin.
2. Free bakery item at Panera.
3. Free medium one-topping pizza at Old Chicago.
4. Extra reward points, which added up to about 1/2 off our meal, at Burgerville.
5. $5 off ice cream cake at Baskin Robbins (btw, I asked if I could just have a free cone instead, and they gave me a sugar cone with one scoop - chocolate fudge, baby!).
6. Special offers (discounts &/or free shipping) from Amazon, CafePress, Shutterfly, & others.
7. Free 12oz coffee beverage of my choice at the SB near my work (no idea if that's a normal thing, but, although I'm not a SB fan, the manager there knows me).
On top of that, some of my clients brought me little gifts, too... and most of my siblings sent at least a card &/or a FB wish (my sister, Jennifer, sent a SB gift card, too!), and all three parents sent a card. My mother, as usual, called to sing (which she does HORRIBLY to every sibling on their birthday), and my other parents texted lovely wishes.
Now, here's a story you may or may not have heard before (and I post this because a few people have asked, "Why is it that you hate celebrating traditional holidays, but expect people to go all-out for your birthday?"):
When I was little, my family was poor. I'm talking -- government cheese delivered to our front door, handmedowns, thrift shops, & garage sales not because it was "cool" but because we couldn't afford new things -- poor. There were six of us my parents were raising on my dad's measly salary. But, our birthdays were special. We got whatever we wanted for breakfast (I loved my smom's "bear" pancakes) and dinner (dad's fried chicken was usually my choice) & a homemade cake, and they saved to buy one or two new pairs of jeans, or the newest shoes. My parents made sure we knew we were loved, even though we didn't have much. THIS is why my birthday is special to me; it has nothing to do with presents, and everything to do with presence.
So, to be clear, it's NOT "expecting people to go all-out", it's about acknowledging me, and the gains I've made over the years.