I often shop at Wawa, a regional chain of convenience stores where I live. They have a phone app, which keeps track of how much I have spent there and gives me a bonus after each $50 spent. The bonus is almost always applicable something I would have bought anyway, like coffee or sandwiches, and using the app is effectively worth about 5%. I'm not sure just what Wawa is getting out of this, but all I can think of is either more store visits from me or better information about my Wawa buying habits, both of which seem fine to me.
Somtimes the app delivers an additional surprise bonus. And for some reason these often arrive when I am traveling for work, in Santa Monica. For example, today only I have the opportunity to claim to a free fifteen-ounce “Java Monster”, whatever that is. (As a computer programmer I find the name poorly chosen. It evokes bad memories and suggests disturbing nightmares.)
Tomorrow I am eligible to receive a free bag of potato chips, normally priced at $1.69. This would be attractive had my doctor not told recently told me to lose weight and eat fewer carbs. If I were in Philadelphia I might have picked it up anyway, and then given it away to one of the folks in my coworking space. But in Santa Monica it is not clear how to capitalize on this offer.
Wawa has a lot of stores and the app has a store locator that will tell me if there are any around where I might be able to get my chips. So I asked it, and learned that to pick up my free chips I don't need to go all the way back to Philadelphia. The nearest Wawa is in Port Richey, Florida, a mere 2145.51-mile drive.
(Google Maps directions say that the drive is actually 2,487 miles. Is Wawa overoptimistic, or do they know a shortcut?)
Even if I were to try, the store is 37 hours away and by the time I arrived, the offer would have expired.
Then I try to imagine explaining this to Benjamin Franklin and it doesn't go very smoothly.