Sunday, December 4, 2011

Monday Mimisms ~ I Just Want To Wash My Hair!

Here we go again.

Some time ago I wrote a post called One Banana, Please. It was a scathing review of the ridiculous invasion of privacy protocol in our local supermarkets. Namely, my refusal to give out my personal information just to buy a banana.
I know you've heard this conundrum from me before, but it bears repeating. And this time it wasn't even about lonely fruit!
It happened again this week. Call it one of my personal pet peeves. In fact, it should be yours too.

"That's $21.89. Phone number?"
I stopped shuffling in my wallet. "You need my phone number so that I can buy something in your store?"
Big cheesy smile. "It's our policy, ma'am!" with fingers still poised to type in the seven digits he ain't gettin' no way no how. Seriously. This bothers me to the core. It's the principle of the thing. The presumption that it's OK to ask people to supply their personal information OUT LOUD in the store with people all around as if they are entitled to it. Yes, that's it. The expectation of entitlement. The information he wants is private. People still have unlisted numbers in this country ya know.

**go get a peanut butter and banana sandwich. I need to rant**
WHO thinks it is acceptable to blindly hand over your personal personal personal information to buy a bottle of shampoo? WHOO? Does this make sense to you, bloggy people? Living in the digital age has torn loose our common sense.   WHY have we gotten so used to it that we just cave to these questions? WHAT would the world be like if more people refused to answer them?  Or started asking why they're being asked in the first place. We tell our children not to talk to strangers but we give all our worldly stats and tell the bad people where to find their bedroom windows.  Do you REALLY want your personal personal personal information riding on even more computer highways than it already is?  WHEN did it become more complicated to buy beauty products in a real-live store with a real-live salesclerk waiting on a real-live customer than it is to apply for a car loan?  WHEN did we start asking people for an oral report on the state of their demographics to purchase ordinary staples? I'm not ordering it online - in which case it is necessary for me to provide my shipping address and all other manner of information to get the product - I'm standing right there! I just want to take my little papoose home and wash my hair. I am going to carry the little bag in my own little hands and place it in my own little shower. Personally. The old-fashioned way.
I am not paying with a check. They are not taking a risk.
I'm standing there with Sacagawea's cash for Pete's sake.

And yet he wants my phone number.

Looking at me expectantly, he asked again. Again??

I've gotten used to this diatribe by now. I don't give my phone number ANYwhere. I'm stubborn that way.  So, I was prepared for this conversation. I said flatly,

"I'm not giving you my phone number."
"We have to have it for our system."
"If you have to have my phone number in order for me to buy this shampoo, then you can keep it."

I cannot believe I am going through this to buy a bottle of shampoo.

He loudly punches somebody's phone number into the computer, or perhaps a fictitious set of numbers. Maybe his. I wonder. If he used his number, does this mean he will now get telemarketing calls in my stead? Oh joy!

And then...."I'll do it THIS time but next time you'll be required to supply it. "

Oh surely, he did not say that. I gave the shampoo police my best 'says who?' look and asked (really. just for the sake of this blog post) "Wwhhhhyyyyyyy?"

"Our corporate office makes the policy, I don't."
So. He is personally typing in the personal personal information of every stranger he meets today and is responsible for it, but he can't tell me why.

"Then I will be forced to give you a fictitious phone number in order to buy my shampoo. But most likely, I won't be buying anything else in your store."

Another insincere and cheesy smile.  "And that's fine too!"

Here we go again.


The Gal Herself said...

Was this a chain store? If so, which one. I'd love to know.

As one who works in marketing and is familiar with demographics, I can tell you *exactly* why they want the info about your phone number. So they can find your address and send you complementary (as well as complimentary) offers to get you back to that store. They may also be selling your information to the manufacturers of the products you buy. It has nothing to do with risk on their part. (If it did, they'd want to see your DL or state-issued ID.)

I always just respond with, "It's unlisted" and have never had any pushback.

Don't bother with the store manager. Go higher up. Offending consumers is NOT the goal of this practice and if you contact the corporate offices (by snail mail or phone, not email) and explain your feelings (as only you can), I'm sure you'll get a response.

Travis Cody said...

I've been asked for my phone number before and simply said no. I don't think I've every been met with "it's required" as a response to refusing to give my phone number.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Good for you, Mimi. Companies are always asking nosey questions so they can increase junk mail

Island Rambles Blog said...

Every time I buy something I refuse to give out any information, but lately I am getting those annoying calls to buy this or somewhere some shop I have been in has been selling my info. how did they get it.... I am just so fed up .....loved this post.

TopChamp said...

We do not get that here!!!!!!!! Ridiculous.

I am sorry I missed the peace blog-blast. I forgot... poor excuse. (I also didn't see your comment until today).

Next time...

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