Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Trends in marketing

Here: The redoubtable Lileks had a run-in with a BestBuy drone over the weekend:
At the checkout counter the clerk asked for my phone number. “Why?” I said. I hate this new wrinkle. I just hate it. I hate the fact that I can’t buy a frickin’ candy bar without a procedure that rivals a mortgage application. I’m always interested in the rationale they give.

“We need the phone number before we can let the merchandise leave the store,” the clerk said. Practiced response, right out of the employee handbook.

And Here:And A Hearty Fuck You Goes To...

The Best Buy Corporation,

For adamantly refusing to sell me a radio unless I gave them my name and address.

Here's how it shook out:

My sweety, the beautiful and formidable geeketteWithA9mm dropped into Best Buy last week to pick up my declared desire for a birthday present, a Sirius Satellite Radio to keep me company on the weekly long hauls back and forth between Freedom House & Corporate HQ.

Not being certain which one I wanted, she took the saleman's advice and snagged me a $200 BestBuy Gift Card.

Here's a rough transcript of my interaction with the cashier & subsequent managers:

Chipper Teenage Cashier Girl: "May I have your phone number?"

This is common enough at a lot of places. Retailers want keys to link together purchases, and can mine a lot of information on buying trends and purchase patterns if they can define a household in a granular manner. This is also the purpose behind most grocery store discount cards. For the most part, this is a fairly benign activity, requiring the voluntary cooperation of the consumer. It's also an activity that I routinely decline to participate in.

Me {out of long habit}: "Nope. I don't give that out."




Gib said...

Not that I would encourage lying, but I've, er, heard that giving them pretty much any 10 digit number placates them. (Steer clear of 1234567890. They'll probably pick up on that.)

Cubicle said...

yea on the voka pundit post there were lots of great suggestions.

Such as the entire country using the same zip code.

Giving the phone number of the local cat house or you most hated enemy.

Or even the SSN of richard nixon. Though in the end the best thing you can do is give you real phone number, but change it once a year.

That will really screw with the data.