The Daily Valet. - 6/10/24, Monday

Monday, June 10th Edition
Cory Ohlendorf  
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
What do you drink in the morning? Coffee, plain warm water or orange juice?

Today’s Big Story

The Golden Age of Loyalty Cards


This is why every store wants to give you something for (almost) nothing


Do you use loyalty cards? They’ve certainly come a long way from the single punch-cards we used to use, right? Buy 10 coffees and get one for free? Now they’re sophisticated, digitized and offer a wide variety of discounts and incentives. And as shoppers continue to face higher prices on almost everything, analysts say that loyalty programs offering valuable rewards are becoming a lot more alluring.

Loyalty programs evolved over the decades from simple stamp cards to memberships. Ones like the kind that drugstore chains like CVS and Walgreens are famous for, that open up low prices on a whole slew of goods. And now they’re everywhere. According to Accenture, more than 90% of companies had some kind of program luring customers to buy more in exchange for perks.

Now, more companies are using tiered rewards not just to offer a lower price here and there, but to unfurl the red carpet for a highly personalized, VIP shopping experience—think exclusive products and services, or early access to sales where you can peruse viral skincare products without worrying that they’ll be sold out. Luxury department store Nordstrom provides top-level loyalty members with an in-home stylist, while Sephora gives its highest-tier members the first look at new products coming to the site. Of course, it can work too well sometimes. Forbes reports that members of Nordstrom’s popular Nordy Club have accumulated so many loyalty points that it’s impacting the clothing retailer’s bottom line.

Vox says loyalty program membership reached a new high last year. One analyst, at the market research firm Emarketer, told them that the average American consumer is enrolled in about 18 loyalty programs. But, she noted that they’re only actively utilizing about half of those. “Everybody wants to be part of the upper 50 percent that the consumers are participating in.” The loyalty game, in other words, is becoming more competitive. The stakes are high.

And the popularity of VIP loyalty programs is partly a reaction to subscription fatigue. People are defecting from streaming platforms, paring down the list to maybe one or two of their most useful services. You might subscribe to a membership and forget about it for a few months, while loyalty programs are a dangling carrot. The loyalty program has a low barrier of entry, but it revs up the fans who were already willing to spend considerable money.

Want to Join?
U.S. News & World Report offers 15 popular retailer rewards programs that you may want to consider joining, with details on the benefits and perks they offer members.

Israel’s Hostage Rescue


Secret plans and a deadly ‘wall of fire’

The hostages in Gaza are being moved around, with Hamas shuttling some from one apartment to another to obscure their whereabouts, while others are believed to be in tunnels underground. But a team of American and Israeli intelligence along with military analysts are constantly attempting to pinpoint their location.

Over the weekend, Israeli forces freed four militant-held hostages and killed more than 270 Palestinians, according to Gaza health officials—marking one of the most dramatic and deadly episodes of Israel’s war against Hamas. According to the Washington Post, it was planned for weeks and executed smoothly, Israeli officials said, until the tight commando raid turned into a firefight with militants.

The raging firefight almost prevented the hostages and the commando team from making it out alive. It also prompted a ferocious response from the Israeli military that helps explain the high casualty count among Palestinians, Israeli officials said. The officials also said they estimated Hamas fire killed Palestinians in the chaotic shootout. An Israeli commando was killed. Abu Obaida, spokesman for the Hamas Al-Qassam Brigades military wing, called the raid a “complex war crime.” He said three hostages were killed in the attack, including one holding a U.S. passport, a claim Israeli military spokesperson Peter Lerner said should be taken “with a pinch of salt.”


Off-Line Dating Continues to Rise


Young singles are sick of swiping

We’ve spoken about this briefly before, but more and more young people are seeking out in-person events to meet partners, per a June report from event management platform Eventbrite. The shifting dating landscape follows diminished interest in dating apps and a recent boom in speed dating events.

Frustrating experiences on platforms like Tinder sent hopeless and frustrated romantics to Reddit, TikTok and elsewhere to vent about their experiences. Now they’re going back to old fashioned methods. Attendance at dating and singles events on Eventbrite increased 42% from 2022 to 2023. Swiping fatigue has led both Gen Z and Millennials to “seek more authentic settings like social clubs and hobby groups in their search for potential partners.”

Inclined to take things old school? It’s a lot less intimidating than you might think. But Glamour spoke with some experts for a list of best practices to make sure you’re ready to really get back out there.

An Orange Juice Crisis?


Could other fruits be added to the juice amid orange shortages?

Have you heard about this? Fruit-borne disease along with extreme weather are throttling orange-producing regions in Brazil and Florida. And the results are curbing harvests—so much, in fact, that supply constraints have led to prices shooting up by more than 20% in a year.

Last year, Brazil exported over 31% of its total orange juice production to the U.S.—making America the second-largest export destination after Europe, which received nearly 55%, according to data from CitrusBR. But main orange-producing areas in Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais can’t grow enough citrust lately. If the production forecasts hold true, then this would make oranges the second smallest crop since 1988.

Typically, manufacturers blend frozen orange juice from different seasons to balance flavors, but low supply has emptied stockpiles, making it difficult to maintain consistency, reports the Financial Times. As a result of the shortages over the last three consecutive seasons, which also dwindled reserves of frozen product for blending, orange juice makers have been forced to consider incorporating other juices to supplement the citrus and help cut down on cost. According to ABC News, using “a different species of fruit” such as mandarins may be the only option “without touching the naturalness and image of the product.” I know this is counterproductive, but learning about all this … just makes me want some orange juice.

Frozen orange juice concentrate was invented to be able to send a fresher-tasting OJ to WWII soldiers abroad.

The Long Read


Landslides can cause sudden, powerful tsunamis—and no one really knows how to navigate them


We’ve increased our vulnerability to disaster, and we’ve increased the probability in coastal regions around the world that share Alaska’s conditions, such as Greenland, Chile, Norway, and New Zealand.

- By Christian Elliott


What We’re Buying


Pizza oil


Pizza's perfect, but you can make it even better. And this oil is the secret to that. After a wildly successful limited edition run, Brightland—the internet's beloved direct-to-consumer olive oil brand—has decided to make its pizza oil ($25) part of its permanent product lineup. Housed in a convenient squeeze bottle, it's hot, herbaceous and made from premium cold-pressed California extra virgin olive oil. It's infused with a delightful blend of raw jalapenos, garlic, oregano, and basil, making it perfect for drizzling on deep dish, dunking thin crust, and dressing up delivery pizza.

Want more?
The five stylish items you should be buying this week.

Morning Motto

Push through it.


Don't give up. You can cuss the whole time. Just don't give up.




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