My wife usually rolls her eyes as soon as the cashier asks the question because she knows my reply before I say it.
"Can I have your phone number?" the clerk may ask.
"Why, are you going to call me?" I reply. "You know that's my wife right there, rather bold of you to ask for my digits in front of her!"
"Home address please?" they sometimes follow-up with.
"Are you going to send me a Christmas Card?" I sarcastically answer. "Do you want my birthday too so you can send me a gift?"
I ran out to buy shoes the other night because us field reporters beat up shoes like it's nobody's business; that's what happens when your in a courtroom one minute and then standing in a frozen, muddy field at a barn fire the very next. I got those very same questions from the young gal who was ringing me up and I went through my typical routine.
I understand she's just doing her job and I laughed about it with her. I also understand that most of the customers simply rattle off that info without thinking twice about it. But why does the store need it? Or better yet, why do they ask for it?
Without fail, most of the cashiers have virtually no idea why when I ask them. It's just some standard operating procedure that gets their computer screen register to click on to the next task so the customer can pay for their goods and go on their way.
Asking for a zip code only so a retailer can track where their customers are coming from is, in my opinion, a more than reasonable request. They're doing that to better serve you.
But why do you need to know where I live? Why do you need my cell phone number? Why do you not know why you need to know where I live or need my phone number? Why can't you tell me what you'll do with that information other than punch it into your computer screen there?
This is not meant to be a rant or a complaint so I apologize if it in anyway sounds like it. I honestly and sincerely would like to know why so many retailers (usually large national chains) ask for personal information at the point of sale. I also would like to know how you as customers feel about this and/or respond to these inquiries.
Awhile back I applied for a loan and began receiving texts and phone calls from mysterious marketing firms offering different rates, additional loan products, and other financial services.
I investigated the problem and learned that the bank placed my cell phone number on my loan application and that one of the major 3 credit unions is then allowed to legally SELL my phone number to marketers!!! Are you serious?
I was not (and am still not) pleased with the bank for that and they knew exactly what they were doing when they filed that application so remember that if you apply for a loan in the future and inquire about that in advance.
A friend at the Attorney General's Office explained the process to me and gave me a phone number to call to opt out 1-888-5OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) of these calls in the future; it basically prevents the credit unions from selling my info.
Returning me to my point; it's not like the credit unions offered me a percentage off my loan or bumped my credit score a few points in return for the money they gained from selling my personal information.
And, best I can tell, it's not like the shoe store I went to plans to give me something in return for my phone number or home address.
So why are stores asking for this in the first place?
Sean Carroll, Reporter