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Stores Use Discount Cards To Notify Of Recall 404

Posted by michael
from the eat-fewer-twinkies-mr-smith dept.
crazyj writes "USA Today is one of many sources running a story about how some supermarkets used their "discount" shopping cards to notify customers of a beef recall. Interestingly, some stores did not use the information because they felt it violated the customer's privacy. I always use a fake name and address when I sign up for those, but do others feel that the stores were justified in 'violating' their privacy agreement?"
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Stores Use Discount Cards To Notify Of Recall

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  • by plover (150551) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @03:03AM (#8073527) Homepage Journal
    The "frequent shopper" cards are no more than an undisguised marketing tool. You should expect no privacy, since you are, in fact, giving up your privacy in exchange for a few cents off.

    Given that there is no moral reason for them not to contact the purchasers of the tainted beef, they would have been held liable had they not used every means at their disposal to contact the purchasers.

  • by grendel_x86 (659437) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @03:12AM (#8073568) Homepage
    Most people dont realize that the whole point of those cards is not to save you money, it is for data warhousing. You dont save anything if you have it, your just panalized if you dont.
  • read the fine print (Score:4, Informative)

    by six11 (579) <{johnsogg} {at} {cmu.edu}> on Saturday January 24, 2004 @03:13AM (#8073574) Homepage
    When you sign up for one of those things, there's always fine print saying what they can and can't do regarding your information. This isn't rocket science--rtfm [safeway.com] and your questions will be answered. Safeway (to pick the grocery store that I tend to go to) states:
    Safeway may use this information to give you personally-tailored coupons, offers or other information
    And then further down, they essentially say that at any point they can amend the terms of the agreement at will:
    We reserve the right at our discretion to change, modify, add, or remove portions of this Statement at any time.
    In any event, they make it clear that they will contact you for whatever reason they see fit. I'm a little bit confused as to why anybody would feel that a grocery card entitles you to privacy, when you voluntarily agree to give them your information even while they state that they will essentially do whatever they please with it. If you aren't comfortable with Grocery X tracking your purchasing habits, do what everybody else on the planet does--provide incorrect information and forget about it. Not everything is a constitutional issue.
  • Re:is it invasion? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Frymaster (171343) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @04:26AM (#8073788) Homepage Journal
    I'd be pissed at the situation, but this is something that'd save my life.

    i'd be pissed that the supermarket didn't bother to do some basic research on the whole bse thang.

    it's all in the fda faq [fda.gov] on bse. especially these gems:

    all the organs in which infectious prions occur were removed at slaughter and did not enter the food supply. Muscle meat is not a source of infectious prions....None of this material left the control of the companies and entered commercial distribution.

    you know how many cases of bse have been identified in humans? 155. worldwide. you know how many of those were in the united states? one. and you know how that woman got vcjd (human bse)? by eating organ meat... in britain.

    we'd save more lives if the ama decided to call everyone on their membership list to tell them not to drive.

    can you believe that me, the raging vegan, is saying this? what's this world coming to...

  • Protest website (Score:2, Informative)

    by Grabble (91256) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @04:52AM (#8073859)


    The most impressive site I've seen about this stuff is

    Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering [nocards.org]

    They've been tracking all manner of invasive (and, unfortunately, pervasive) supermarket marketing techniques for quite a while now.

  • by billstewart (78916) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @05:49AM (#8073964) Journal
    First of all, you're a troll. But aside from that, most of the store chains don't care if you're providing them real information or not (except the ones where the card is also a check approval card.) I've been John Doe several times, address "General Delivery", real city, real zip code - that lets them track whether running a sale on chicken boosts the sales of bbq sauce or tortillas or white wine (I'm a vegie, so no :-) and gets me my discounts. Obviously I won't get my personally-targeted Mad Cow ads, but they seem to stuff my mailbox full of supermarket ads addressed to "Occupant" anyway.


    I've also gotten cards as "Illegible scrawl" at some stores, depending on their procedures for trading the card for the paper.

  • Re:go to Food Lion (Score:3, Informative)

    by fucksl4shd0t (630000) on Saturday January 24, 2004 @05:58AM (#8073974) Homepage Journal

    Hmmm. Randall's, Albertson's, and Kroeger's are all the same company. In fact, in that string of grocery stores in the article they listed of companies that said it violated privacy, they are all the same company. :)

    When I was in Texas at a Kroeger's, my wife and I went and got a card to get a quick discount, filled it out with fake information. Then the cashier, who just happened to be the assistant manager, chuckled when I told him I had a Safeway's, Albertson's, and Randall's card in my wallet. He said I could've used any of them, they're all owned by the same people. :)

  • WRONG (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 24, 2004 @07:12AM (#8074165)
    We might know what causes it (these protein fragments labeled 'prions'), but then again, we're not really sure. Prions could be a symptom, not a cause (though they are more than likely the culprit thus far).

    Most certainly wrong. The prions has been injected into cattle, that then latter develop BSE. Likewise, the same of scrappies for sheep, and CWD for Elk/Deer. If you think that this is total crap, You are welcome to self inoculate yourself with any of the above or better yet, try CJD.

    Personally, I do think that it would be useful to cross inoculate from CWD+ deer/elk to cattle and see what happens. That may have implications for transmission to humans. Here in the US, CWD is spreading and W denied funds to Colorado to do further studying of it (he is burying his head in the sand the same way that reagan did over aids).

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