I recently stood on line in a pharmacy and handed my keys with my store card over to the clerk. Although I had done this hundreds of times prior, this time I was a little incensed as I received 50 measly points on quite a large purchase. It was at that moment I realized that I was giving far more than I was receiving. For a couple of dollars in savings, I was allowing this pharmacy chain access to much of my personal information including my name, where I live, my spending habits, how often I frequent the store and a whole host of other information. I decided, literally, that I was no longer willing to barter my privacy, for a few trinkets, scraps really. I would therefore, destroy all of my non-essential plastic in an effort to recapture some of my privacy.
How did I determine my non-essential from my essential plastic? For example, as someone who travels frequently, I have found myself in desperate need of a hotel or a rental car, due to inclement weather. American Express has saved me on several occasions, locating a room or car when none were available. As a frequent flyer, plastic ensures that I spend my flying time in First Class rather than Coach, another very real perk. But informing me that toilet paper is on sale in exchange for my personal information? That no longer flies with me.
I completely understand that in the age of the Web, there is no true privacy but that doesn’t mean I have to make it easier for those who seek to target me. And I don’t mean criminals, I mean the department stores, supermarkets and on-line retailers. One great benefit is I no longer have to keep track of all of those ridiculous cards. I have fewer User Names and Passwords to remember. I have freed up space in my wallet, on my keys and on my smart phone and I feel genuinely unburdened. I am quite capable of deciding what and when I need to purchase. I need no reminders from “Big Brother”.
One final thought, if pharmacy’s and supermarket chains believe that they’re going to save on labor by having me check out my own order, that’s not going to happen. I would stop shopping first. Anyone who buys into this concept is a fool. I’m not talking about the 10-item-line or Home Depot, a store where you may purchase only 2 or 3 items. I’m referring to a $200 or $300 grocery shop. No way I’m going to run around the store yelling “price check”. I will never allow a store to put me to work, convincing me that this is somehow the future, in the present. The question is, will anyone else reject this corporate attempt to save money at my expense?