Friday, November 9, 2007

We know what you're buying

Apparently I have some new best friends I didn’t even know about. I learned their identities when I got a letter from them in the mail last week. This is—in a nutshell—how it read:

Dear Pamela:

We notice you spend a lot of money in our store. As a matter of fact, you spend more than one in five people who visit us. To show our appreciation, we are enclosing some coupons we tailored just for you. We look forward to seeing you again real soon.

The Folks at Kroger

Apparently, because I hand over a little plastic thingy that hangs from my keychain for the Kroger boys to scan as they check my purchases, the Kroger execs are keeping track of what I buy. This just seems a little too Big Brother for me.

I can envision their marketing people, sitting back, reading through my list of purchases, scratching their heads. “Look here,” says #1. “She bought fudge Poptarts, chocolate chip Eggos, fudge Toaster Strudels, and Cocoa Krispies. This woman is a chocolate nut, I think. Should we send her a coupon for Cocoa Puffs or All-Bran cereal, which is what she should be buying?”

“It’s a toss-up really,” answers #2. “If you send her the All-Bran coupon, she’ll probably never use it. But look here, she bought two packs of Slim Fast. Maybe it was for someone else.”

“Let me see that,” says #1. “No, look. It was Chocolate Fudge Royale. It’s probably hers.”

And so it goes until they’ve amassed eight or ten coupons “tailored” for my shopping needs. I threw the whole packet in the trash. It just sorta creeped me out to think that people I’ve never met know what I purchase each week. But if I don’t hand over my key tag, I’ll end up paying 15% more for my groceries than I should.

Each time my purchase is totaled and before the cashier hands me my receipt, he’ll scratch his thumbnail in a circular pattern around my total savings, printed at the bottom leaving a dark ring. “You saved $26.53 today, Mrs. Hammonds,” he proudly exclaims, handing over the shiny paper.

Next time I think I’ll say, “Oh yeah? Well, keep it to yourself, will ya?”

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