February 7, 2016
I was out in the stores shopping recently. At the check-out counter the cashier points to the credit card pad and said, “Just hit OK so that I can complete your transaction.” Luckily I glanced at the screen and noticed that the “OK” option was for me to give out my personal email address to sign up for coupons and special discount offers. I looked at the worker and said, “No, I don’t want to do that.” She looked surprised, then fumbled around and hit a few keys to complete the transaction.
A short time later, I was purchasing items at another store and the cashier asked, “What’s your birthday?” My what? I glanced up, puzzled by the unexpectedly personal question. She repeated the question. Now I’m a bit bristled at this request and I responded with, “I’m not interested.” This opened up to a three minute dialogue where the worker proceeded to try and get me to sign up for the stores rewards program. Her reasoning was two-fold:
- It’s free
- You get a free gift on your birthday
I kept saying “no thanks” and she kept trying to get me to sign-up. Eventually the worker finished my transaction but it was an uncomfortable shopping experience.
Earlier today, I decided to browse a few retail sites on the web. After every site loaded I would get a pop up prompting for my e-mail address.
All of these queries have me wondering, how many people answer these questions and fill out these surveys without thinking about what they are freely giving away? And why do the retailers want your personal information so bad anyway?
I don’t know what retailers do with this information, but I do know that I have to be the one to give it to them. And I am not going to blindly give out my personal information for marketing purposes. I’d rather go without the “free gift.”
Is the “reward” worth the price of giving up your personal information?