I always feel like somebody's watching me...
Because I can't seem to stop bitching about all of the little things that irk me, add another one to the list: Shopper "loyalty" cards.
I don't just dislike them because they require me to fill out a form with my personal information, therefore giving Big Brother another way to keep an eye on me. I also find them objectionable because they are a pain the the ass to keep up with (who always shops at the same grocery store?). And it's not just grocery stores anymore. CVS drugstore has an "ExtraCare" card. Video stores have them. Health clubs have them. Before you know it, your keychain is a mass of ugly, plastic tags.
I don't object to warehouse store cards, like Costco. They have to keep the riffraff out somehow. Membership cards are fine (though my health club just looks up your name at the front desk and I no longer get DVDs from anywhere but Netflix). My Barnes & Noble card is a necessary evil, I just don't like to keep track of it.
As a matter of principle, I refuse to fill out applications for loyalty card programs. Why should I take MY time to give a store personal information that allows them to track what I buy? But I want the discount - at BiLo or Harris Teeter or Piggly Wiggly, or wherever I happen to shop that's convenient at the time. It's like a game: At CVS, I tell them I forgot the card and give them my mother's phone number. At grocery stores, I pick the line with the friendliest-looking cashier and tell them my card is on my other keychain, or I left my bonus card at home, or I just loudly announce that I forgot my card and wait for the person behind me in line to offer theirs (they often do). At Barnes & Noble, I give them my home phone (they can easily look it up). As far as Costco is concerned, I only go when my roommate does (with his card).
I have no plastic tags on my keychain. I can't even find my Dillard's credit card (I can still charge because they can enter the card number by looking up my account) and my wallet contains only my driver's license and two credit cards.
With Harris Teeter's "e-VIC" program, you can enter your VIC card number online and it creates targeted weekly specials they send you via email. I did it for a while, but it was a little creepy to get emails announcing weekly bargains on Fancy Feast, Ben & Jerry's, NyQuil, and KY Jelly. Or Mentadent, Lean Pockets, E.P.T. Home Pregnancy Tests, and Mrs. T's Bloody Mary Mix. So I took my email off the list.
I'm not one of those paranoid conspiracy theorists who think there's a bad guy behind every marketing campaign. But we shouldn't need cards to be a VIP or preferred customer. If a grocery store wants my loyalty, they should forget about specials, lower prices across the board, hire cashiers with customer service skills, carry the organic milk I like, and quit asking me to fill out their f*cking forms.
End of rant.