I love Super Glue. When Elmer’s is not enough, you can rely on that super duper goo to fix a broken ornament in a jiffy. Why, if Joan Freedthey had Super Glue back in Humpty Dumpty’s day, he’d still be with us.

Recently I found some holiday décor needing repair, so I headed over to the local hardware store for that miraculous adhesive. I marveled at the tiny tubes they sell it in, because I’d buy it in the jumbo size if I could. I’m never convinced the one drop they recommend is enough. Old TV ads showed a construction worker dangling from a beam by his helmet supposedly due to a single drop of Super Glue. I’ll have to verify that myself sometime, if I can find a construction worker who’s game.

Unlike Elmer’s, which is fun to peel off your fingers, Super Glue is unforgiving. Invariably I end up with an uncomfortably stiff, shiny patch of it on my fingertips and have to scrape it off along with a top layer of skin.

I was lost in these images when the gentlemanly cashier at the hardware store interrupted.

“Ma’am, do you have our rewards card?” At my blank stare, he continued. “Because if you don’t, you’re really missing out.”

Sigh. Another computer system yearning for my personal information. I held out as long as I could with the grocery store, but shopper’s remorse ultimately forced my hand and I signed on.

In no time, that smug little checkout machine was spitting out coupons demonstrating that the computer inside was noting my every purchase. It slyly issued me a discount for my next purchase of feminine protection products, and it knew I’d want a coupon for more calcium supplements. It flaunted me with its knowledge of which hair color I bought and how often I used it. Now, not only my hairdresser knows for sure. One thing is certain: The day I start buying Depends, I’m switching to cash.

Back at the hardware store, I was torn between not wanting to relinquish even more of my privacy, but still curious what I’d be missing. I shrugged and decide to bite.

“What does it get me?” I asked.

“Well,” he said with noted excitement, “when you join you get 1,000 points!”

“Uh-huh. What else?”

Holding the brochure aloft, he added, “Then, each time you spend $1, you get 10 more points.”

“Yes. And?”

“Well,” he continued breathlessly, “there are several promotions throughout the year where you can get double points on your purchase!”

Clearly, this guy was a points addict. I tried one more time. “Anything else?”

He deliberated and then brightened. “Ah yes, every couple of months we send you coupons for even more points.”

I glanced at the brochure in his hand and saw: “Earn 2,500 points and get a $5 refund.”

Ah, at last. A quick calculation showed the card basically translated into a 2 percent rebate. I weighed this against the hassle element, unwanted mail and loss of privacy.

“I’ll pass, but thanks anyway,” I told him.

He shook his head incredulously, and dejectedly placed the brochure back in its holder. I eagerly headed out to door, ready to go home and maybe even break something.

Joan Freed, Lake Oswego, is a writer and actor.

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