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January 16th, 2003

I’m Preferred!

Yesterday, Pingers, I caved. I signed up for a preferred card at my grocery store, Jewel.

I had gone months without one – even though I had a card from competing chain Dominick’s. My fiancee has one, but for months, I told various checkers, “No, I forgot my card” or “I thought I had it with me – I must’ve left it at home” or “My dog ate it”. The last one was really bad because I didn’t have a dog or a card.

But my tactics weren’t working any more. No card? No deals. No savings. What’s worse is that I couldn’t jam the system; an ID was required, along with my social security number (really). Thus, I couldn’t say I was a 99-year-old African-American female living in Birmingham, Alabama, with a phony SSN. Nope.

I don’t like cards. At all. I think they’re innocent when taken individually, but when coupled with all the other data out there about me… it’s unsettling.

I was too convinced by the deals on Morningstar Farms products. Help.

Posted in Miscellaneous

FROM: Matt
DATE: Thursday January 16, 2003 -- 12:07:53 am
I don't really understand the need for these places to have anyones ssn. Everything from stores to online services. If I can pay let me be, my background isn't of your concern.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday January 16, 2003 -- 12:10:53 am
Paul -- I also dislike cards and don't like the idea of tracking purchases. Shoot, I don't even give stores my phone number when they ask for promotional purposes ("But we'll only mail you once!" -- Me: "That's once too many!"). But unfortunately, the deals ARE too good to pass up, and that's what they're counting on... the ever-watchful eye of the Food Marketing Department, spying on your simultaneous purchases of chili and TP.

FROM: Robben
DATE: Thursday January 16, 2003 -- 4:46:27 am
I agree no one should have your SSN for innocent grocery buying or video rentals for that matter. Here in Canada we have your equivalent with the SIN (social insurance no.) card. Now there's a misnamed venture, or maybe it isn't. However, we are in our rights not to have to divulge that for silly grocery/video/whatever membership cards. Without that important, and private number, i don't mind them collecting data on what i eat. They can fill their collective boots on my grocery bill. All it means, and this i read on the internet so it must be true :), is that they will know i prefer brand A to brand C and that they will probably keep enough stock on the shelves for my next few trips. Plus the savings, ... the Air Miles! Thanks to that gas card, or the keychain wand thingy, i get free airtime for the cellular while they get the knowledge of how much gas i burn... Ooooo, they'll know i really like following the gas wars, cause they're tracking the fact that i fill up at the cheapest station, and only get a few bucks at the rest.

Maybe i'm just not paranoid enough...

FROM: Robben
DATE: Thursday January 16, 2003 -- 7:14:16 am
Afterthought: I was driving to work this am, and i realized that somebody, somewhere deep in the computer data centre at PetroCan will deduce that following my gas purchases last week to Montreal and back that i must've gone to the Stones concert there on Wednesday night... hmmm. I'd tell perfect strangers about that show if they'd only stop long enough to listen.

FROM: Greg C
DATE: Thursday January 16, 2003 -- 12:28:51 pm
After stating a few years ago, "No cards ever" or something like that, Albertson's recently started the card system again.

I hate cards, too, but in this case, there's a little box on their form that says "I prefer not to give any personal information", and that's it. Of course the stupid thing is you still use up a tree so you can check the little box. You do, however, get a card without them having your personal information.

What I was thinking of doing was getting several different cards to mess with their tracking...

For example, on one card only buy bathroom items. Go to one Albertson's and buy toilet paper, then the next and buy Ex-Lax, then the next and buy Kao-Pectate.

Then on another card, only buy sex items: condoms, K-Y jelly, etc.

Over time, each card should have a nice history of being a sex-item card or a diarrhea card.


FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday January 16, 2003 -- 1:56:34 pm
The danger is in the individual details. Its only a matter of time before insurance companies and employers want access to those records, for your own good of course. Your life insurance company would love to know if your buying a 12 pack of Budweiser and a jumbo package of pork rinds every week. They would also love to know if your vitamin habits suddenly spikes - could be a sign you think you are sick. Your future ex-wife's divorce attorney will cetiantly use the record of frequent wine purchases to conclude that you are an unfit parent, and if your name is Amir and you like to buy gun magazines you can count on a visit from the secret service or FBI.

We shop at Shoppers Warehouse - which uses their lack of a card program as a major advertising point.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday January 16, 2003 -- 5:20:18 pm
Greg, there was no such box on my form - even though Jewel and Albertson's are one in the same. I did object to getting snail mail from them, though - I had that option.

That said, Trader Joe's has no cards, lower prices, and better products than Jewel. Jewel, however, is 50' from my workplace.

FROM: jk the retail guru
DATE: Thursday January 16, 2003 -- 6:38:10 pm
There is truly no valid reason for them to ask for your SSN.

Here in PA, the various stores that have their special cards track your purchase totals a couple times a year and then award you a free turkey or 15% off a future purchase. I am against the card in general as a requirement to receive sale prices, but the occasional % off is nice.

And I am sure they love looking at my purchase history, wondering why I buy Lactaid and yet can eat Tasty Kakes.

FROM: Cynthia
DATE: Thursday January 16, 2003 -- 8:13:57 pm
I like the savings of the card. I don't put personal information thats true on the application though. I feel that it is none of their business. Safeway here is lucky I shop there and I only shop there if I know they got a great deal, otherwise its Costco or Winco or Food for Less. I only buy what is on my shopping list and only if its a great deal. Sometimes they ask me if my address is the same and I always tell them, I think so!

FROM: Marcus Mackey [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday January 21, 2003 -- 3:30:56 am
I'm still bucking the trend for the moment.

For a long time I used an ex-girlfriend's keychain card that she gave me. :-) Then it sort of got to the point where it looked like my dog ate it (and like Paul, I don't have one). Now, rather than contribute to the "Big-Brother"-like tracking of the in's and out's of my purchases, I just elect to pay the fee. Granted, sometimes the savings is quite sizeable (more often than not I still get asked for the card, if it comes down to it though I might switch and go to Dominick's instead). Then again, the grief I save in having my purchases tracked and to what untold measures that could lead... comes to a point that I just said no, at least for the time being.

Then again... it's sort of like cookies in a browser I guess. Track my personal preferences and netiquette; or my personal preferences in products and buying patterns. Maybe one of these days I'll breakdown and get one. It's not like I have cookies shutoff. :-\

Then again I'm altogether more fearful of having my physical actions tracked than my net one's, after all... who says it's "ME" on the browser all the time? The card is attached to "me", slightly different and more finite unless you share a card (and circumvent the purchasing patterns).

Do I feel stores "NEED" to know what products I purchase? No. Why do they want to know? They want to be able to know what to stock in a particular area, and stock more of. However, herein lies my suggestion. Why not just provide a ballot box by the front door and let people fill out information and submit it. They could also have an online, non-cookie enabled, version on their website as well. I like the ability to go into a store and see something new and different. The more things are traced and tracked... the greater the likelihood that a store won't take a chance on a new product or item. Hell, and what's to say that a person moving from one area to another won't foul up the current buying system, with one store overstocked and another under? The only way to circumvent the system is to increase the trackability (prying ever more into our lives), or decrease it and base store stock off of sales volume in entirety. Detailed purchase reports seem useless, and a bit too inquisitive in my opinion.

FROM: christoph
DATE: Thursday January 23, 2003 -- 4:48:56 pm
I cant believe they ask you for your ss# The more places it is, the more opportunities for identity theft!

FROM: Big Fat Lizard
DATE: Tuesday January 28, 2003 -- 3:36:31 pm
couldn't they just track everything bought at the register like they used to? why do they want to get so personal? is this another way of letting the computer industry offer them a bigger hard drive to store all that red tape - I say let's try and eliminate some of this red tape - and let everyone have the sale...I hate the frigging cards it's just another peice of crap I have to keep in my wallet that I don't like!

FROM: unhappy with albertsons
DATE: Sunday October 30, 2005 -- 9:04:15 am
This thread has been inactive for almost 3 yrs now, so this might be a long shot...

I too hate the preffered card. Every time I go to Albertsons, I ask for a new card as I hate the idea of tracking my purchases to target me with some personalized type of sale cupons.

So I have an idea...

At my local stores, if you don't have a card, the cashiers ask you to input your phone number. I usually enter a fake # (a new one every time). If the # isn't registered, they'll either give me a new card or scan one of their own.

Here's my idea:

everyone post on this thread one or more phone #s (fake ones are ok !) that they've registered with albertsons. Then everytime you go to the store, use one of these #s. Albertsons will have data that looks like some customer travels all over the U.S. to by groceries. The more people that do this, the more effect !

Here's one such # (505)-525-1234

Mr Meddling May 30, 2008, 11:44 am

I like Meddling cards. Great savings when you allow Meddling in your life.

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