BIG DATA can kiss my ass

Posted On: Tuesday - March 6th 2018 6:38PM MST
In Topics: 
  General Stupidity  Curmudgeonry  Economics

I'm not gonna carry an inch-thick wallet of these things:

I've got a real beef with these discount cards. It's interesting that this is one marketing idea that does NOT scale up well in the whole industry, in this case each market in retail, Grocery stores, drug stores, what have you. See, when one chain, like Safeway, first decided many years back to offer discounts to customers that held onto these cards, it worked out great for them. After a while, a quarter of the stuff in the store had a deal, or at least, that's what you're supposed to think, for which you needed this card. You're gonna feel like coming back to Safeway for those good deals those other non card-carrying special customers would not be able to get. You were special. If you went to Ralphs, well, you hadn't done the paperwork yet, so you're gonna get screwed.

On the store's side, besides having slightly more loyal customers, one had all this data in the system to sell to the highest bidder. There was the general data about "people who buy this also buy this other stuff a lot", but also the specific data on who exactly was buying what, so go ahead and mail them some coupons - I'm sure they'll appreciate it. This is getting to my point which will come pretty soon, I think ...

However, this doesn't scale well, as now these damn cards are necessary in about all of the chain grocery, home improvement, and drug stores (probably more that I can't think of now). Am I supposed to fill up my wallet with 25 plastic cards? No, no, they have key-chain-sized ones now. Yeah, but my keychain is big enough already, the hell with that. OK, so you can just put in your phone number, and use that each time. Yes, I'm getting to my point. You're not getting squat on me, as far as information, bitches! Do you think I gave you my real phone number? How many damn customers live at 123 Elm St. anyway? (Oh, they can hook it all together with your credit card info, you say? Nah, I pay cash a lot, in general).

Now the reader's question may be? Can't you remember the fake phone number you used? Well, that does usually work, but this particular time a few days back at the drugstore, I knew that my wife had a card. I didn't know what info she put in, except the fact that it was fake too. That's why they tell you that you have to have a good memory to be a good liar, right, Hillary? Anyway, she wasn't there (I mean my wife, but not the Hildabeast either, of course).

For the last 10 years, I've been either typing the fake phone number I do remember or, more often, just asking if I can use the store's card, or even the customer's next in line (he may even come out ahead on points, whew-hoo!). Usually, store people are cool about this, but this lady was hard-core "No, we can't do that." When I run into this quandry, I just ask for an application, make everyone wait in line if I have to, fill out some more bull, get the card, use it, and throw it all out before I leave the store. It's a very satisfying way of letting people know I'm not putting up with the bullshit! Try it sometime.

This lady wanted a real email besides the phone number. She seemed very taken aback by my telling her that I wasn't going to give the drug store chain my information. Her cash register POS* computer really was checking for valid email addresses! I mean, not just for the right character sequence, but whether email would not bounce. Holey moley, the whole damn store was hard-core. Well, guess what, the email bounced, and the lady was, yes, taken abacker. At that point, I'd already swiped my shiny new discount card, and my stuff was paid for. This hard-core clerk had a nasty look and made a comment about honesty. "Yeah, I'll be honest with people that deserve it", I said. She didn't like that, even though I was honest with her too, in telling her that I wouldn't give out real information, but it made me think...

.... was I wrong? No. These big retail-chain companies want to fuck with me, and I'm just not up for it. If all of you big BIG DATA people are gonna make me need to swipe or type something just to get the same deal as the next guy, I'll make sure I'm not giving you data that is worth selling. Do you think they would have put up with this at the corner drug store in Mayberry, North Carolina?

The great thing about having a blog, is that the writing of this very post has given me an idea for my next visit to this drug store. I'm gonna need another card, you know, so I think I'll submit a real email address - someone from the school board. I really hope it's someone who it is into coupon clipping.

* POS - no really, it stands for Point Of Sale, not what you think I wanted to write.

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