Attention All Shoppers...
...This is a public announcement. Would all Club Card owners please make every detail of their personnel shopping habits known, and be prepared for a huge invasion of privacy and lucrative marketing scams to follow...
You won't hear this announcement over the tannoids at Tesco because it's something the supermarkets don't want you to know.
Club Cards. What do they mean to you? A first class service? Great savings? Those ever wonderful points? Coupons upon coupons that routinely end up in the bin? Looks super shiny and great on the surface though underneath is a whole different scenario.
In reality Club Cards bring a second rate service, dishonest pricing and no real savings. Check your coupons next time and you'll find that they are for a product that was on special offer last month (getting rid of surplus stock), or that the product price is marginally higher than usual (tricking the eye into believing they are seeing a bargain), or that you have to buy three of the the products together to qualify for the saving (duping the customer into spending more than usual). Coupons cause queues, we all know that but the supermarkets don't care about that. They've got you buying something you probably weren't going to. That's all that matters.
Your shopping habits matter a lot to them too. Remember the surveys you used to receive in the post, with a free pen and a prize of ten grand for the winner? This type of marketing is seen less and less and will soon stop altogether. It's not because they didn't attract many responses, or didn't provide accurate enough answers. It's because now we have the Club Card. An intricate database with the times, places and products you buy.
Do you buy late at night? Perhaps you'll soon receive a helpful flyer with updated information on all the 24 hour stores in your area. Do you buy in bulk, in one monthly shop? Perhaps you'll receive the exciting news that you would benefit from the store's online shop.
Have you just had a new addition to the family? Perhaps now you'll receive some coupons for baby food, after all you've been purchasing nappies and baby milk in abundance for the past four months so your little one should be at the weaning stage soon.
Next time you agree to look after the neighbour's cat for two weeks, be prepared to receive cat food coupons for the next year. The Club Card computer will think you've bought a cat. Soon they'll be trying to sell you one.
And as if we weren't bombarded enough by product placement instore, plasma screen advertising, special offers such as good old buy-one-get-one-free, there are new plans to lure you into buying what they think you'd like. Stores have been developing a system that has a 'personnel shopper' on your trolley - mini screen which, when swiped with Club Card, will display personnel recommendations based on your position instore, as you browse the aisles. Ever so helpful, isn't it?
There are many ways to avoid the Club Card snoop on your personal life. You can use an alias when signing up, but then your habits are still recorded (wether it be under a Miss Interpeted name or not) Swapping friends' cards regularly is also recommneded, just to confuse the system. And see here for this chap's novel approach to amassing several shopper's habits into one.
But of course the best way to stop the Club Card snoop is to NEVER sign up for one. And if you already have one? Chuck it in the bin. Along with all those coupons gathering dust in your purse.