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Data

The CDC tracked salmonella poisoning using your supermarket value card.

8 Responses to “Data”

  1. Pete Says:

    Of course you need to note this:

    “With permission from the patients”

    The CDC does a pretty good job of tracking stuff down (SARS, Ebola, food borne illnesses, etc…)

  2. John Smith Says:

    If you are worried about privacy use that increasingly rare form of payment known as cash.

  3. Captain Holly Says:

    True, John, but there are a lot of people who fail to realize that even if you do pay with cash it doesn’t matter if you use your Costco/Sams Club membership with it.

  4. Blake Says:

    I use an unregistered supermarket card.

  5. Jake Says:

    That’s the big problem with those cards – everything is tracked. Unfortunately, the savings* you get by using the card is significant enough that it’s hard to pass up (which is really the point). Anyone that doesn’t think they track what you buy is fooling themselves.

    I take comfort in the fact that the value card I’m using is in my ex-wife’s name – I never got a new one after the divorce – so it would never lead directly back to me anyway.

    * of course, by “savings” I mean that they raise the price for not using the card, then put that little yellow tag next to the increased price to make it look like you’re getting a discount.

  6. Nate Says:

    I read somewhere that there are large groups of people who switch those “discount” cards amongst each other every month or so to throw off the system. It seems like a good idea. Or you could use the whole “awww man, I forgot my card at home, could you use the store card?” routine. They may ask for your home phone number first, so just make one up, and when it doesn’t work they will just do the ol storecard fallback.

  7. Sigivald Says:

    Jake: It’s not much of a “problem” in itself.

    It’s a problem only if you’re worried about Safeway (eg) knowing that someone with card X buys products Y and Z.

    It’s actually good if you care about their coupons in the mail, since they can be more targeted, and not waste your time with things you don’t give a damn about.

    Of course they track what you buy. That’s the entire point – they’ve always been about targeted advertising.

    Safeway (again, the most obvious example, since they jack up prices for everyone else, unlike, say, Kroger stores) doesn’t give a damn about anything other than getting you to spend as much money as they can in Safeway stores.

    If they think they can do that by figuring out what you’re buying and (if you spend a lot of money), trying to entice you in with coupons on things you might want, they’re going to do that in a heartbeat.

    Anyone who really cares can just use a card with fake information on the registration, but… there’s caution and then there’s paranoia.

  8. Rivrdog Says:

    I have one for my local Kroger store, Fred Meyer, and just last week, they robo-called me to tell me that some Reser’s chips I had bought were recalled and to pitch them. Two days too late, I had eaten them, but didn’t get salmonella poisoning.