February 7th, 2002, 06:39 AM
WASHINGTON (January 28, 2002 8:25 a.m. EST) - You swipe your savings card against a screen mounted on a supermarket shopping cart. As you move around the store, the screen flashes ads for products you usually buy, notes that you haven't bought toothpaste in six months, and provides recipes and health information.
All the while, your every move - including which aisles you go down and how long you spend in each department - is tracked for marketing purposes via the savings cards, also known as loyalty cards.
Such technology is in the works and privacy advocates - already concerned about the proliferation of cards that monitor customers' purchases - are outraged.
Carl Messineo, co-founder of Partnership for Civil Justice, called the technology "visual pollution" that "if forced upon me, I probably would sooner starve."
Klever Marketing, based in Salt Lake City, plans to provide the screens to supermarkets at no charge as early as this summer.
The Klever-Kart cannot identify customers by name or connect them with their shopping profiles. But company spokeswoman Pam Geiger said Klever planned to develop a special card to use in conjunction with the Klever-Kart, making it possible to identify shoppers and provide them with personalized information.
Even without the high-tech screens, loyalty card programs are proliferating around the country. Seven of the top 10 American supermarket companies have them, as do CVS and other drug chains.
Supermarkets say the cards improve efficiency and save consumers money. Typically, stores charge cardholders less than the shelf price for many items, making signing up for one hard to resist.
But to critics, the cards are merely marketing gimmicks that force people to exchange personal information for savings that may not even exist.
"Stores and corporations have used sales to entice customers, but now they've added a new price - and the price is your privacy," privacy advocate Messineo said. The stores use customers' personal information to create "a comprehensive profile not only of your shopping habits but your personality."
The cards track what products and brands customers buy, where and when they shop and how much they spend. Knowing consumers' shopping habits, grocers can identify their best customers, design target advertising and coupon campaigns, and make stores more convenient - all with the ultimate goal of keeping big spenders coming back.
"When you're carrying around a Safeway card, you feel like you're part of the Safeway community," said Arthur Middleton Hughes, vice president for business development of CSC Advanced Database Solutions, a database-building company in Schaumburg, Ill.
Hughes said card customers shop more than people who do not have the cards, but supermarkets do not have the time or money to analyze most of the data they collect. "That's too bad because it's a gold mine of information," he said.
Bukhari:V3B48N826 “The Prophet said, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.’”
February 7th, 2002, 12:44 PM
Interesting. So the time is fast approaching when the company will track you from home to store, while at store and back home. joy.
February 7th, 2002, 01:16 PM
As long as any such card isn't compulsory, I have no problems with it...
If it makes some peoples lives more easier, I'm all for it..
I wouldn't use it *I'm an impulse shopper*, but if it will help my grandmother to remember to buy some toothpaste, I think its a good idea........
Now all they need to do is invent a card to tell my grandmother to brush her teeth... and I'll be a much more affectionate grandchild..
\"Isn\'t sanity just a one trick pony anyway? I mean, all you get is one trick. Rational Thinking.
But when you\'re good and crazy, hehe, the skies the limit!!\"
February 7th, 2002, 01:23 PM
The information state is growing on us all the time. George Orwells 1984 is edging into our lives a little bit more each day. Everyone who I have ever spoken to has been outraged at the use of Spyware in software, yet to me this scenario is no more than that, it is a breach of our privacy. You step out of your house - your on a CCTV camera, drive into the supermarket car park - more CCTV cameras. Step into the store (now you might as well be on prime time TV). When you've got all your goods its off the the checkout where everything you bought is logged.
No, loyalty cards enable the supermarkets to keep tabs on you, they enable them to give you 'offers' based on previous shopping habits, in other words it gives them another oportunity to take more cash out of your pocket. Loyalty cards are nothing more than marketing tools used for the issuers benefit to make more money. These cards in my view amounts to nothing more than Spyware. Keep em, I dont want one.
Supermarkets say the cards improve efficiency and save consumers money.
Wont be long before we all have chips implanted in our arms (I know for a fact this type of research is happening in the UK).
February 7th, 2002, 01:27 PM
the_g_nee you have it right. I've seen and been in on the planning sessions for these "loyalty" products and it IS all about tracking.
February 7th, 2002, 02:09 PM
A laptop, internet connection and beer.
February 8th, 2002, 06:04 AM
what the hell....i got neg antipoints for no reason...and why people get afraid of writing their names ....when they give negetive points...
A laptop, internet connection and beer.