Упражнения уровня TOEFL по английскому языку. № 35.

Прочтите следующий текст о схемах использования карт лояльности и выберите лучший ответ a, b или c на вопросы с 1 по 7.
Read the following text about loyalty card schemes and choose the best answer a, b, or c to questions 1 to 7.

If you ask supermarkets and department stores they will probably tell you that loyalty card programmes are designed to help them 'reward valuable customers with better prices.' This sounds fine, but is the phrase 'valuable customers' really an industry code meaning 'shoppers who spend the most money'? Are the cards merely designed to identify and reward the wealthiest shoppers?

The argument is this: advertising and in-store promotion convinces shoppers that the cards are there to save them large amounts of money, but the stores see the cards as data collection devices designed to help them monitor who buys what. This information is then used strategically to raise prices and increase profits. Here's how it works:

Each time you scan a card, every item you purchase is recorded into a computer file linked with data from your card application. Eventually, based on many shopping trips over a period of time, a picture begins to emerge of your shopping habits and household characteristics. This is then linked to broader 'market segments' based on age, race, income level, family size and neighbourhood. The real goal is to determine how profitable each market segment is to the store, and to treat customers in those segments accordingly.

Though we all have to eat, supermarkets have been scrambling to cater to the wealthiest shoppers ever since researchers discovered that 75% of a store's profits come from the top 30% of its customers. Cards help the supermarket identify those big spenders and keep the stores well stocked with the products they like to buy. The result is that items preferred by 'top' customers begin appearing in greater numbers on the store shelves, while low-cost items get squeezed off the shelf.

The loyalty marketing experts who sell card programmes to the supermarkets encourage this phenomenon. In fact, they have even suggested that supermarkets use card data to identify and 'discard' low income customers altogether.

Card information is also used to set prices, with big spenders setting the standard for what everyone else must pay. An item that once sold for £1 may be raised to £1.49 if card data shows that the high profit customers will still buy it at that price. As new technology allows card programmes to grow more sophisticated, such customer segmentation will grow deeper. Those who want to escape from price manipulation should shop away from these stores until they get the message.

(1) In which part of a newspaper would you find this article?
a) in the food section /
b) in the business section /
c) in the health section /

(2) Loyalty cards help stores to…
a) understand their customers better. /
b) offer more discounted products. /
c) spend less on advertising and promotional campaigns. /

(3) According to the text, loyalty card schemes benefit…
a) all customers. /
b) mainly high-income customers. /
c) mainly low-income customers. /

(4) The verb cater to is closest in meaning to:
a) understand /
b) attract /
c) provide what is required /

(5) Loyalty marketing experts are encouraging supermarkets to…
a) stock more high-cost products. /
b) value all customers. /
c) introduce more special offers. /

(6) In the future, technology will enable stores to…
a) know even more about different market segments. /
b) be more efficient. /
c) offer better value to customers. /

(7) The article recommends that shoppers should…
a) complain about loyalty card schemes to stores. /
b) only spend money on low-cost items in stores. /
c) boycott those stores that operate loyalty card schemes. /

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