|today's haul from amazon|
many stores in denmark have gotten onboard the loyalty card bandwagon. the one i actually use is matas, which is a shop that sells makeup, perfume and body care products. i like the mails i get from them and i feel like they're using the data about what i purchase wisely, to target the mails to my desires. plus, they have cooperation with other shops, like clothing stores and even the shop where i got my glasses. you earn points when you shop and you can buy things, even nice things, with those points. thanks to my very expensive prescription, i've been able to get a nice hair dryer set, perfume, shampoo, hairspray, nail polish and lotion. they come in pretty packages and it feels like getting a present. in fact, i even gave sabin the hair dryer as a christmas present. it's a loyalty card program that i can get into.
but i'll admit that handing over that card feels a little like i'm voluntarily letting big brother look over my shoulder. if they're tracking my buying habits at the grocery store (you can also have a card there) or in ikea (where they appeal to your altruistic side by donating some miniscule amount to save the children every time you shop) or at h&m, what does that mean in the long run? and what are they doing with your data? do they share it with others? and if so, which others?
i just got a new cartridge for our soda stream in the local imerco (a homewares chain) and she asked if i had a card. i had one at one point, but didn't get it switched over to my current wallet, so i said to her that i did, but that i had just read an article about such cards and was feeling like i no longer wanted to use them. there was another woman in the store who, uncharacteristically for a dane, piped up and said she thought such cards were great because then the stores know what you would like to buy. i would argue that they don't. they only know what i did buy and have absolutely no idea about what i might have actually wanted to buy. they know what i settled for, because what i really wanted wasn't there.
i think with all of the nsa spying exposed by edward snowdon, i am more suspicious of such things. tho' i have no qualms, as i write here on my free blogger blog, and use my gmail in the chrome browser, at turning my every thought and interaction over to google. i am more suspicious of facebook, but still, i give them an awful lot of my data as well. i just can't see that they're using it wisely, as the ads they show me there have never had anything to do with what i like or would be interested in. google, on the other hand, really gets me, which is maybe why i don't find it evil that they have my data.
what do you think? do you participate in loyalty programs? are we already so entrenched in the matrix that there's no way out?
* thanks, bill, for getting me thinking about this.