The Supermarket membership card has many functions : Every item in the typical grocery store has a barcode on it, so the store managers know exactly when every item is sold, and at what price, and they know what other items are purchased by the same customer. This enables them to determine the percentage of the customers who buy steaks and also buy charcoal, for example. The only thing they can’t determine without The Card is the identity of the person who bought these items. Even that could be determined by matching check and credit card numbers. But what difference does it make if a gallon of milk is purchased by a young bachelor or by his grandmother, as long as it is sold?
The existence of the membership card means that the supermarket has established two sets of prices: The normal price for first-class customers, and a higher price for customers who shop anonymously. But why? Obviously the stores are collecting data and selling it to the highest bidder, regardless of what they tell the customers about the confidentiality of the information collected. It makes no sense to believe that the stores set up this system with any motive other than profit.
It is also obvious to those of us who use one or more grocery store membership discount cards (under a fictitious name and address, of course) that the store does not gather information for the benefit of the customer. If that were the case, the store could easily offer prizes for those who purchase the most. For example, it might take me a few years, but my favorite grocery store could express their thanks in some way when they find that I have purchased a thousand gallons of Diet Coke, or a hundred pounds of my favorite breakfast cereal.
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