40 thoughts on “July 5, 2017

  1. The thought of a corporation darker than the one actually cultivating that information to begin with is truly frightening.

  2. The struggle is real. Sometimes, keeping your integrity and your job at the same time is not the easiest thing.

    • And that’s why I’d sign up with an e-mail address of grumbels@mydomain.

      Having your own domain, and creating an unique e-mail for every company you deal with, is a good first line of defense against corporate attacks via e-mail. If they get obnoxious, or worse, I get e-mail on that address from someone else, I delete that e-mail address.

      Then they are never heard from again.

  3. If consumers don’t realise by now that rewards programs probably benefit the company more than they benefit the consumer…then that’s being pretty ignorant about the modern world.

    • It’s a quid pro quo. You get discounts, they get customer behavior information.

      I shop at one supermarket that I like because after they ring everything up, they can tell you if any of your items are subject to a discount using the loyalty card. Then it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to use it. And certainly, no discounts on offer, no loyalty card given.

      • I stopped getting loyalty cards and I avoid shopping at busnesses that use them. And I can usually do as well or better elsewhere.

      • Our grocery store has a Rewards card, but it isn’t tried to anything. Ask for one and they’ll hand it to you. However, if you misplace it, they can’t look it up on the computer.
        We get money off on their brand of gasoline – 5 cents per $100 – and the tapes themselves can be turned in by a charity for more money. It’s something akin to pennies on the dollar, but our parish gets about $1,000 every six months.

  4. Rewards programs create two classes of customers and discriminate against one of them. “Papers please!” I’ve stopped going to several places that do that. My cash should get me the same thing as anybody’s.

    • What? Your cash does get you the same item but if you choose not to get a free loyalty card that is your prerogative.

      The point of loyalty is well, to create loyalty… I have a free westjet rewards card and when I book flights I try to book with Westjet over Air Canada or Porter for the flyer points…. I have a Chapters rewards card and so I buy books there instead of Walmart since they are the same price but chapters gives me points.

      • Innocent Bystander has a point, and I agree. Sure, the card is free, but your info gets stored in yet another database. If you don’t want that, why should you be denied sales compared to the people who let the store take their info?

        • Because you’re not giving them anything, so why should they give you anything in return? Essentially, by signing up, you’re letting them track what you purchase so they can better tailor advertising to you. In exchange for this data, they’re giving you discounts.

          Think of it this way: If I knew nothing about you, I might have to eventually spend $1 on marketing on you before I find something that works. However, if you sign up for a program where I can see what you’re interested in and how I can bring you into the store, that cost might drop to $0.10, saving me $0.90. So, in thanks, I offer you a $0.50 cent discount on an item. We both end up ahead. I’ve effectively saved $0.40 ($1 – $0.10 – $0.50), and you’ve saved $0.50. Win-win.

          If I were to offer that same discount to the other person, then I’d be spending $1.50 on you, a net loss of $0.90 compared to the person who has a loyalty card.

          • What you describe wouldn’t be so bad (my opinion). But if you think that’s all that’s happening, you’re naive.

            The case of Target figuring out someone was pregnant based on her purchase history and then sending her something that let her family know being a case in point. Problem being that she hadn’t told them and wasn’t ready for that.

            And that’s a relatively minor invasion of privacy (she probably doesn’t see it that way). It can be much worse. Witness what Facebook now allows their moderators to do if their algorthms *tag* you (no actual proof or probable cause) as a hater or supporting terrorism. No thanks.

  5. My “rewards” card from my local grocery store saves me an average of 15-20 percent on my shopping trips. Once, I saved as high as 52 percent because the store’s online rewards card has a list of coupons you can download onto the rewards card for those purchases. Without that card, I’m paying more money for the same things. Every 6 weeks, the store also sends me a book of coupons in the mail for things that I usually shop for.
    I’m not seeing an “evil Big Brother” side to this store and I’ve been shopping with their rewards card for 3 years. Sometimes, you get a lucky break, I guess.

    • I hope you’re right about the Big Brother’ aspect, but I wouldn’t count on it. Or if it’s true, staying that way.

  6. Honestly, I really haven’t seen any real indication of a store selling my info to other companies. No emails or junk mail. Maybe a few coupon books.
    Of course, I have also been the victim of three massive government/institutional breeches, so my view may be a bit warped.

    • I work for one of these “evil” data companies. Thing is, if utilized properly, we actually work to reduce junk mail. We want to send you things you might actually buy, rather than pull names from a phone book, so if we look at the data and determine you’re really not interested in product XYZ, we won’t send you ads for it!

  7. I did not see an uptick in spam calls after getting rewards cards. I belong to a civic group and we have organized blood drives as well as other volunteering opportunities. The blood bank sold our information. Everyone who gave started having their phones ring off the hook a few weeks after a blood drive.

  8. The main use most reward programmes make of your info isn’t selling the personal stuff. It’s looking at your buying habits, and tailoring the offers to convince you to buy more than you would otherwise. The companies are using the data themselves. (And not just the personalized offers. If they see that graham crackers are almost always bought with slabs of chocolate, they can make sure that those two aren’t on sale at the same time, so that people will buy a full-price treat to “take advantage” of the other one being on sale.)

  9. I remember for two years I worked at a Boscovs, hoping to find a new store thinking the “grass was greener”. Their credit card quota was sick, and they pushed us to sign so many folks up. Well, I used to tell people that credit cards are a rip-off, which they are, and I never asked anyone to sign up for it. Might be why they rode me until I quit and went back to my previous store, but still: I stand by what I said. Especially store credit cards, which have that nice 30% or more interest.

  10. I think it is different in Canada now with the anti-spam legislation (I could be wrong though). I have loyalty through my grocery store, airmiles, Chapters, Westjet and never have an issues with spam or anything else… What I do find I get is from my magazine subscriptions, their partner brands will send me offers for subscriptions but I’ve never had any issues with the loyalty cards selling my information.

  11. I’m not sure why people are complaining about loyalty programs the way they are. Every customer has a choice about whether to join the program or not. In my mind the interaction and “contract” is somewhat like this:
    Store: “Here is your Gewgaw, that will be $25 please.”
    Customer: Thank you, here you are.”
    Store: “If you wish you can sell us some of your personal information and in exchange we will give you money, coupons, worthless objects, meaningless adulation, and anything else we can think of that costs us little and means even less.”
    Customer One: “Thank you, I think I will take advantage of that offer.”
    Customer Two: “No thank you, I think my personal privacy is worth more than what you are willing to give me.”

    And that’s it. Stop complaining about the programs and just don’t join them. But don’t be upset when other people who are willing to forgo some privacy want to take advantage of them.

  12. What no one has mentioned is how stores track you by tracking your (smart) phone.

    Hooray for my old school flip phone!

  13. As of now, my store’s customer agreement states they will never sell your data to another company. They keep all that juicy info to themselves.

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