Blog: Points

(originally written 10/1/12)

So through with points.
 
No, I’m not referring to points on the end of pencils or thumbtacks. No, I’m not suffering from NFL/NBA score-recording burnout. What I’m tired of: programs/contests that require the accrual of a gazillion points to reap any worthwhile benefits. Because by the time one does so, the contest is either over—or any interest in it has long since passed.
 
Allow me to cite a few examples:
 
EXAMPLE A) I donate my valuable blood/plasma three times annually, and while I do not do it with compensation in mind, who wouldn't be pleased upon learning they're being rewarded with prizes? Expecting to be led to a closet full of goodies, instead I was directed to a website listing the amount of “points” I accrued and which item(s) I could claim.
 
Turns out that three years of consistent life-saving donation was worth exactly two free movie passes. For a limited time. Fail.
 
EXAMPLE B) For a few years, Sony featured an online daily Points/Rewards promotion in connection with its' most popular shows—primarily Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, and Seinfeld. The player would answer daily questions on the Sony site and receive points for answering correctly: 10 here, 20 there, etc. and ultimately redeeming them for a prize.
 
Back in 2009 I set my sights on a Canon Digital Rebel SLR (which I've long craved, but sacrificed in order to keep my Tyrannosaurus of a daughter clothed and shoed), available for about 20,000 points or whatever it was.
That's a lot of puzzle solvin'.
But I got at it.
 
Months later, with a huge boost from my extensive Seinfeld knowledge, I'd banked over 5,000 of those points—only to get jipped when Sony eliminated all shows from Rewards qualifications except 10-points-per-night Jeopardy.
 
Upon the filleting of the Sony Points/Rewards promotion, this number represents the amount of interest Skillz Savage held in continued participation:
"What is zero?"
Damn straight, homie.
 
EXAMPLE C) A couple of years ago, Subway Sandwiches began a "Subway Card" promotion where every dollar spent represented a point to the card. $5 spent = 5 points (for the record, there was no rounding up; $5.95 = 5 points unless you did like me and added a lone extra slice of roast beef to surpass $6). Only when you topped 100 points did you qualify for even a free six-inch sandwich.
 
Not that I don't like Subway sandwiches—I do, just don't like standing behind indecisive idiots who treat ordering a sandwich like choosing a wedding dress—but I would have never purchased 15 of them in two months were it not for the miser in me who refuses to pass up a shot at free food.
I was able to redeem my first hundred points for a scrumptious BMT, but before I could fully replenish my points supply and sample the chain's new (and pricey) Pastrami Sub—I'd accrued another 70 or so—Subway discontinued the Points program out of nowhere, for no given reason.
 
Seriously, Julianne Moore had more warning when the rigged greenhouse collapsed and shredded her in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.
But I'm not here to talk about the past.
 
EXAMPLE D) The camel's backbreaker: My online cocaine, aka Logic-Puzzles.org.
 
Before my hospital stint in March I'd never even heard of logic puzzles. All it took to fuel a full-blown addiction was one challenge. One completed puzzle led to a sundry of them in an hour; I was hooked like a hungry carp. Upon returning home I found the aforementioned website, which offers points rewards for players.
 
Today the puzzle addiction has subsided but the lure of moving out of the bottom 100 all-time point scorers—who've been playing for years—continues to draw me to the site, often against my will.
Every time I think I'm out, the shame of having less than .0001% of the Hall-of-Famers' point totals pulls me back in! Because I know I'm better than them, and probably better-looking, too.
 
So many aspects of my life are being impacted by these puzzles, and points are to blame. They're causing divergent, neglectful, feckless behavior and turning me into an occasional hermit. I don't like it.
 
From this July 1, 2012 day forward, with the exception of sports and Scrabble, if I encounter anything that offers or requires accruing points for any sort of reward or recognition, yours truly will run. And run some more. And probably collapse, as my legs have slightly atrophied from hours on Logic-Puzzles.org.
 
I think I've made my point...