Next week is my birthday- March 8th. I’ll be turning the big five oh! Today I got a birthday card in the mail from Macy’s.

Happy Birthday Denise! Macy’s Star Rewards wants to wish you a very happy birthday with this special pass to use on a wide array of brands! It’s our little way of saying “happy birthday” to you, our loyal Macy’s customer. Inside the card is a $10.00 gift card that pulls out.

I’ve been loyal since 1986. In fact, it’s the only department store card I’ve ever had.

Because we don’t have a Macy’s in Northern NM I went online to buy some cool stuff. At check out I entered my secret code (on the back of the gift card) and nothing happened.

THEN I saw the fine print. I had to put on my reading glasses…..are you ready for this?

*Excludes Everyday Values (EDV), furniture, mattresses, rugs/floor coverings, cosmetics, fragrances, Tag Heuer, Tempur-Pedic, products offered by vendors who operate leased departments in any of our stores including furs, Maternity (no problem there), eSpot, Luis Vuitton (damn). Not valid on previous purchases, special orders, services, gift cards, jewelry trunk shows, (WHAT? why?), payment on credit accounts, restaurants, gourmet foods, wine (double damn). Cannot be combined with any savings pass/coupon, extra discount or credit offer, except when opening a new Macy’s account (ironic). Savings are allocated among eligible items, as shown on receipt. Returns forfeit allocated savings for returned item(s). This coupon has no cash value (no sh*t) and cannot be redeemed for cash. Purchase must be $30 or more, exclusive of tax and delivery fees. Valid for one-time use only in-store March 1, 2012 through March 31, 2012 with your Macy’s credit card (so we can charge you 21% on your birthday gift IF you’re even able to find something you want that qualifies under these ridiculous rules).

Macy’s – what are you afraid of? It’s ten bucks. It’s my birthday. I’ve been with you for 26 years.

This is why most loyalty systems are so flawed – so much red tape, legal crap, and restrictions. Takes all the fun out of turning fifty.