Fri 26 Dec, 2003 01:50 pm
Is your supermarket spying on you?
Is your supermarket spying on you?
Some customers are fighting "loyalty" cards that force grocery shoppers to use them or pay higher prices. They say privacy is an issue because a database tracks every purchase you make.
For millions of people, using a discount card at the local grocery store has become routine, a convenient, sure way to get the best prices and as unremarkable as a shopping list.
But 14 years after the cards were first introduced, a few iconoclasts are questioning the cards' value and using the Internet to sabotage their market authority.
I have half a notion to order a barcode just for fun.
I trade my supermarket cards with strangers occasionally.
It takes a little doing to convince the person in the checkout line behind me to realize that there is nothing dangerous with swapping cards.
Somehow it gives me great pleasure to know that I am screwing the data.
The store where I shop doesn't use cards, but even if they did, it would not concern me. Everything that I buy in the store is legal, so who cares if they know what I buy?
Also, people DO have a choice. They can either not use the card, and pay the higher price, or patronize a store that does not issue cards.
Phoenix, you make a great argument against civil rights...
I don't have any dangerous beliefs, why should I be concerned if the First Amendment is upheld? I don't say anything illegal, who cares if the government taps my phone?
Many of us do care. And, as noted in this thread there is a third choice. I get the savings without giving up any meaningful information.
I always enjoy a little subversion...
ebrown_p- Wait a second. If the GOVERNMENT were tracking purchases, I would be screaming like a lunatic. We are talking about super markets, which are PRIVATE entities.
We have a choice. If the government decided to track purchases, I'd be the first one marching in front of Congress with a sign!
We are talking about super markets, which are PRIVATE entities.
We need to define what private means. (a lot of the giants are public companies - and in a lot of cases that's what it kind of really means)
There is so much information trading between stores and manufactures - it would surprise you. Heck manufactures even pay for prime-location in the stores.
I think we would be surprised about the vast amount of information the government gets or tracks via products that receive a subsidy or are subsidized.
In a least one case I know of the "personal" shopping information held by a grocery store via the cards was used by the police to establish the drinking habits of a customer. So it's not all that "personal" ie "private."
Swapping discount cards? I love it, e brown! Of course, my card will probably end up with an alcoholic who likes to rent violent, pronographic videos.
If the stores are tracking our purchases, it certainly explains why they NEVER send me vouchers for things I actually buy...
I thought "loyalty cards" would only be a phase.
I shop at one particular store that uses it. They overprice their groceries to let you think your getting a deal when you use your card. They always tell me how much money I saved after my purchase. When I signed up they promised to send me money saving coupons in the mail. Once in a while I get coupons for things like 10 cents of two bars of soap. If they are spying on me, they can see that I don't shop at their store as much as I used to. This tells them that they need to lower their prices.
You are right about the prices that accompany those cards, colorbook. What to do? The only store that I think doesn't use such a card in my town is Wal-Mart, and I don't like them very much.
This p*sses me off, but I can't afford to shop with out jumping through hoops, so I capitulate.