Karin Kloosterman
Forecasting technologies and design to better the planet

Cards and apps, making our lives (and planet) more efficient

My yoga center just announced that I need to download an app before I start a yoga class – every single time.. Drat. I hate using apps that I don’t need. I prefer to not use too many apps and to keep the face of my smartphone clear from clutter. Even the Gett taxi app that I use every couple of weeks is buried somewhere beyond what my screen shows me. There’s an app for that! No thanks. Future-thinking companies need to understand their customer behavior before making them download another app. 

For most purposes Telegram and Whatsapp are perfect for communication at work and between friends. For my yoga class I suggest they invest in a geotag software and just mark me off the list when I step over their threshold. I can follow up with a confirmation text later that I was there. As it stands now it seems like most companies make apps so it’s easier for them. They don’t do it with customer service in mind. To resist I do as much as I can online without the app version. If you have a good UI/UX expert on the team you don’t need an app for that. Everything can be web-based even on the smartphone.

So I don’t have an app for YouTube and I ditched the LinkedIn app when it felt like it wanted to communicate with me all the time. Instagram, Netflix, Facebook, Whatsapp, Mail and Chrome are about the only apps I can’t live without and if I had to choose I could live without them all except for Gmail, Whatsapp and Chrome. Disclaimer: I am not dating. But if I were I would be using a few dating apps, probably

But I think it’s important that before developers make an app for your company or service, listen to your customers first.

I have to say I have come to the same conclusion with credit cards and loyalty cards and I am at a purely distrustful place when anyone anywhere tries to sell me on a loyalty card, especially loyalty programs in Israel that have the chutzpah to ask you to pay to be a member. We are not talking steep discounts and free Costco samples. We are talking about average and regular clothing shops asking me to pay the equivalent of $20 USD to get their discounts for the rest of the year. As a Canadian who reaped the benefits of the American retail industry, we never pay for loyalty cards. Why? The data they can collect about you is invaluable and it is the kind of data that credit card companies would love to buy. So if Margaret shops at Kmart or Canadian Tire and uses her points card for toys or tools you know what coupons to send her in the mail or by email. 

There are loyalty cards/credit cards in Israel too like the one for Superpharm which is the Israeli version of Boots, CVS, Walgreens or Shoppers Drug Mart -– and again you need to use this additional card to get most of their sales. Understandably some desperate people want more credit in Israel where everyone seems to live on credit –– but the fewer the cards I have in my pocket the easier I sleep (I think about my carelessness and losing my wallet a lot), but mainly life here is so complicated so why add another billing company to your worries? … I remember the 3 days I had to fight with Bezeq, the local phone company here, over incorrect information their salespeople gave me and I ended up paying NIS 1000 (about $300 USD) in long distance fees when I transferred my landline to Jerusalem. So the truth is that companies in Israel do offer deals but most of the time you get what you pay for. Avoid the deals. I try to avoid any sort of sales and marketing in Israel (hey it’s an interest free credit card! I don’t think so) because I don’t trust it. When something is on sale here there is often something wrong with the deal –– it’s not a promotion like in the US or Canada to get you into the mall. 

When I am asked to buy 3 for 12, instead of 2 for 10 (what I need), I often say no. It’s happened a number of times that there is a trick or a catch or something. And you end up spending more than what you want and end up having more than what you need.

Besides my 2 credit cards (one international and one local) –– I have ditched all points and rewards cards they are just cumbersome, the one card I would be interested in having is a guilt carbon card. The idea came up in Canada. It’s something we would use whenever we buy meat or take flights and it adds up, or subtracts rather, the amount of carbon we add into the atmosphere whenever we buy something that pollutes more than it protects. This is a card to fight climate change and our impulses to buy, buy, buy. That’s a card I could use.

About the Author
Karin Kloosterman was born an activist, focusing that spirit to align human desires with Earth-friendly approaches. She's a published scientist, award-winning journalist and a serial entrepreneur who founded flux to cognify Earth's data. She is the founder of the world-leading Middle East eco news site Green Prophet www.greenprophet.com Reach out via karin@greenprophet.com
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