Orwell's 1984

January 09, 2006

Over the weekend I purchased a second set of insoles for my work shoes. The first set has made a huge difference in the amount of pain I have from my fallen arches, but I was getting tired of swapping them from the brown work shoes to the black ones and back again. So, Saturday morning before getting my hair cut I went to the New Balance store and bought a second pair.

After waiting (and waiting) for the talkative couple in front of me to complete their purchase I presented the insoles to the clerk. She immediately started the interrogation. "What's your name?" "How is that spelled?" "What's your phone number?" "Your address?"

I interrupted her rather curtly saying that I just wanted to buy the insoles, and asking if I could please do that without giving my life history. She tried to explain that they would only keep the information in case I lost the receipt, blah blah blah.

When she asked for my information again I just looked at her. Eventually she got the hint and rang up my purchase, now angry that I wouldn't play by their rules. When did buying some thing with CASH money become a data collection exercise? We as good little indoctrinated consumers think that we have to jump through all the hoops the merchants setup between us and nirvana (having their product in our home). While I certainly agree that there are some forms of payment that are less guaranteed (personal checks) than others, I don't think using a guaranteed payment vehicle (cash, credit card with authorization number) is an excuse to perform thinly disguised marketing surveys.

Henceforth I plan on making up random data for all cash register surveys into my private life. I think I'll be George Orwell.

Author's profile picture

Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.