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12 January 2010

More Blather

Guess my mind is working over time with Duane gone & me trying to keep myself occupied.

Not that i don't have enough to do. I've plenty to do! Am i doing it? Not so much.

For some reason (the mention of someone i know elsewhere) i got to thinking about discount cards. I assume they are frequently used across the country, too. Our big grocery stores here, Ralphs (which is now part of Kroger) & Vons both use the cards. Ralphs used to be my primary grocery, but we don't have one in BB.

Vons, which uses a discount card, & Stater Brothers are our two groceries here. I generally shop Vons for they have an organic selection while Stater Brothers has very few & a very poor selection. (I also use our small health food store some, purchase from the farmer's market when i'm able, & use a health food store down the hill.) I know they track my purchases by that discount card.

I don't mind.

I'm sure i look schizophrenic to anyone checking. We buy some snack food & frozen convenience food for Duane for when i'm unable to cook & organics for the rest of the time. Anyone tracking me will see i buy no pharmaceuticals, no shampoos or soaps, no laundry detergent (except Borax), no soda. I do hope that my tendency to buy organic fruit, veggies, meat (Duane is not vegetarian), eggs, & dairy will prompt the store to carry more of it. Of course, they don't have to track me to know what of their inventory is going out as organic.

I don't mind too much using the Ace Hardware store card.

Borders, however, raises questions. I do use the card, but do i honestly want someone tracking my reading material? I don't buy things of which i'm ashamed, but it does start to raise questions for me. I have a CVS card, too. I don't buy much there, & when i do they will see that i purchase nail polish sometimes (another of the chemicals i still use), Burt's Bees products, cards, & a few other items (personal women's products, & in the past pregnancy tests). No perfume, make up, shampoo, soap, etc.

I'm not ashamed for anyone to know of any of the purchases i make, but i wonder if it is not a slippery slope.

A couple of years ago i came across someone who was doing a program (multi-level marketing). The program consisted of simply going to a certain website to do your online purchases. It included a lot of big stores like Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, Kmart, Barnes & Noble. You could buy virtually anything there & receive a discount, sometimes a substantial discount. This person, P, was all enthused about it. She received a small % of every purchase made at this website from folks under her. If i had signed up other folks i would make a % of everything they bought.

But what became glaringly apparent to me was that anyone above me would be able to track each & every one of my purchases. If i decided that buying underwear or tampons on line at Target was something i wanted to do, P would know the size, brand, & color.

It was a major turn-off for me. I signed up ("It doesn't cost anything! It's free!") because she's a sales person & it didn't seem worth it to me to argue. But i have never once used the program & never will.

And i wonder where this will lead us. If we become so immune to someone else's ability to track everything we do will we even recognize when we have lost our freedoms?

One sentence the cops on TV tend to use with folks stating they want a search warrant before allowing the cops to search their homes is, "If you have nothing to hide, why prevent us from searching?" I'm sorry, that is a slippery slope, too. A right to privacy is a basic right, even if the person has "nothing to hide."

I think we sometimes lose sight of that in these days of easy computer tracking, instant messaging, twitter, & facebook. It is almost impossible to live completely off the grid in our current world. I don't mind the grocery store knowing my buying habits, but i don't think i want to let it go further than that.

(But if you think you are interested in the multilevel marketing thing, i can send you the email address & website.)



lisa said...

Unfortunately, we have already started to lose our freedoms. The government has already started to take more and more of our rights away from us. I do have a card for discounts here but I get so much off of my gas when I buy so much food at our local grocery store. This weekend I spent 11 dollars for 20 gallons of gas. Sure I had to buy alot of grocery's for that but they don't have to do that at all!

Rosemary said...

I loved talking with you - what a treat!

Okay, about this - I'm also against the idea of all this information about your taste and personal habits out there as well. I think, what can be done about it? Well, I can choose to at least try and limit my exposure to it. There was a fascinating Wired article about the author trying to go off the information grid for a month.