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Friday, August 10, 2007

What do points make? Not as much as they used to...

A couple of months ago, Ken M wrote about the loss of the indie section of Tower Records' Shibuya store (on the excellent Japan Live blog). When I lived in the UK I avoided Tower like the plague, not wanting to pay the exorbitant prices they charged (probably to cover the rent for those prime locations they always favoured). However, once I moved to Japan I found that Tower here was reasonably priced and one of the easiest places to buy English books and magazines from. They weren't the only reasons I went back there again and again - step forward the mighty Tower Points card. Admittedly, you had to spend ¥50,000 to get a discount of ¥3000, but with judicious timing (i.e during the frequent double points campaigns) it wasn't that difficult to fill the cards up. Like the indie section at the Shibuya store, this card is no more. Last week I bought a couple of CDs and found that Tower have introduced a new card, which is more complex than the old one (won't go into the boring details) - worst of all is the fact that you now have to rack up ¥75,000 in purchases to get that ¥3000. Is this a sign that the economic woes faced by Tower in the States have crossed the Pacific, or is the company just hoping that no-one would really notice?