Saturday, May 19, 2007

Big brother

I avoid Albertsons for all the right reasons, but I had to go there today to fill some prescriptions for my wife and her former gall bladder. While the prescriptions were being filled, I picked up a few odds and ends.

Of course, prices were punitive for shoppers like me who refuse to become "preferred" customers. With every purchase, steam pumped out of my ears in greater volumes. Albertsons pretends that its "preferred" program is voluntary, and it mostly is for me. But for people who live in the neighborhood and lack transportation, the grocery store really leaves no choice: surrender full information and knowledge of your most intimate shopping habits with Albertsons or pay far higher prices.

It just about makes me choke.

UPDATE: In comments, a couple of people suggest it's morally acceptable to simply lie in such cases. I'm not sure I'm up to debating the moral argument -- my first and second thoughts both say lying is not justified -- but whether it is or not, lying is not something I can bring myself to do. If I were a better liar, I might not care about the whole situation so much.


Anonymous said...

Get a card with a fake name. "Mike Hunt" has owned one for years in my house.

Dave Rye said...

There is an Albertsons just three blocks from my home, and it's mighty handy, including the recycling bins in the parking lot. (Besides, the ice cream doesn't melt on the way home.) I realize the "preferred shopper" requirement is something I ought to get worked up about, just because of the invasion of privacy, and yet somehow I can't. Except for tobacco products, it doesn't embarrass me for other people to know what I buy there. If anything, it ought to bore them.

I do, however, appreciate your willingness, David, to stand on principle at the expense of your bank balance. I refuse to join AARP for that reason. For most people saving money is the ONLY consideration, and they don't think very far (if at all) beyond that factor.

Anonymous said...

The answer is simple, David. I don't know why more people don't see it - lie to them. After all, my definition of a lie is to misrepresent information to someone who has a right to know. Albertsons has no right to any of your personal information, therefore you are well within the bounds of morality to lie to them.

My name is Joseph P. Schmeau. My phone number is one that I had years ago when in Billings that I no longer have. That's all that Albies knows about me.

Vince said...

I agree with Dave Rye. It's something I should resent but I'm too busy resenting bigger things at the moment. Besides, unless you pay by cash, they still know who you are and what you purchased.