My grocery store knows more about me than my husband does.
It was exactly 10 years ago this past weekend that I signed up for one of their preferred savings cards. I was nervous about it. I don’t like the idea of the cash register collecting information about my buying habits. But if you want to get Dannon yogurt at 20 for $10.00 (that’s how my store always shows the specials, so dumb people buy 20 of everything) you have to give your name, address, and answer all sorts of impertinent questions about yourself.
Now the cash register knows when I shop, and exactly what I buy.
It spits out coupons specifically for me. I bought a 20-gallon box of cheap Gallo wine once. Once! But the register remembers. It thinks I’m a lush. Every time they’re running a special on wine or beer, out comes a coupon. The guy in front of me buying tofu didn’t get a booze coupon. The register knows its prey.
Not only does the register know and remember, it judges. In the early years, it would automatically print coupons for Hot Pockets and Dove Ice Cream bars. But I think it has figured out that the kids are out of the house, and that I’m buying all that stuff for myself. No more ice cream coupons. Now it prints coupons for Kashi Go-Lean cereal and Weight Watchers frozen dinners.
Last month it gave me a coupon for a Hallmark Mother’s Day card. It’s nagging me! If it could have talked, it would have said, “Call your mother.”
I just know my grocery store’s register is sharing my information with all its computer brethren. You think I’m paranoid? Don’t be naïve! Of course they all talk.
Last time I had a cold, I went to the drugstore and bought some Nyquil. I used my drug store preferred card to get 50 cents off. I stopped at the grocery store just 15 minutes later and the register spit out coupons for Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup and Puffs tissues.
This has gone on long enough. I decided to turn in my card and find a new store, one that doesn’t know all my secrets – one that doesn’t judge me. Time for a fresh start. When I went there yesterday I fully intended it would be for the last time.
I went to the checkout…and got a coupon for a dozen red roses. It remembered our anniversary!
Maybe I’ve been too hasty. You don’t throw away a 10-year relationship on a whim. I’m going to give this thing another chance. After all, they’ve got 2-for-1 on Charmin toilet tissue this week.
But only for special customers.
p.s. I went to this store last night after I posted this blog. I got 0 coupons at the checkout. Zero. First time, ever. Don’t you dare think that computers don’t talk to each other. – obviously the register heard about this post and was getting back at me.