OT: CompUSA Collecting personal information / Is this a trend?

Art Pollard pollarda at lextek.com
Tue Feb 1 22:37:34 MST 2005

>It should also be noted that all these discount cards can be had without 
>filling out the details.  I read the fine print when I picked up my 
>Albertsons card and it plainly states that you do not have to supply any 
>information to get the card.
>When I returned the form to the lady at the customer service desk blank, 
>she tried to explain that I had to fill out the card.  I then pointed to 
>the small sentence at the bottom of the form and all she could say was 
>"Ok...uh...have a nice day".

Not long after Smiths first started their cards, they would keep the card 
applications just under the customer "desk" so if you wanted an anonymous 
card all you had to do was reach around and grab one.  I did this and took 
great pride in my cleverness and anonyminity.

That is until I got a telephone call ....

Them: "Hello, is this Art Pollard?"
Me: Yes
Them : "I'm proud to say that you've spent over $XXX.XX  and so the next 
time you go to Smiths, you will get 10% off your next purchase.
Me: Huh?, ok, whatever.
Me: Hang up.

As I sat around and thought about it, I realized that they had cross 
referenced my checking account number with the card as soon as I used it 
with a check or debit card.  Once they had cross referenced it, they had me 
-- even though I never had provided them with any personal information.

If you want privacy, use cash.. If you don't use cash, they will cross 
reference your purchases with your credit card number, checking account 
number, etc.  So unless you use cash, there is no point trying to "hide" 
behind a supposedly anonymous card.


Art Pollard
Suppliers of High Performance Text Retrieval Engines.

More information about the PLUG mailing list