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Things that stink. - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Things that stink.
At 5 a.m.: our yard. A skunk right outside the window, letting loose a major Pepe Le Pew Bomb. This was the third of my insomnia events from the overnight, but it could've been worse: the first was when Ebony woke me up to go outside at around 2 a.m., so she did not encounter the skunk or its calling card.  The in-between event, around 3, was what led to the afternoon stinkiness, though: for the first time since the dog ate my mouth guard, I woke myself up with the lovely crunch of grinding teeth that meant a piece had come off. Fortunately, it was minor damage, but it inspired me to get over to the sporting goods store to replace both that and the everyday pair of gym shorts that Ebony also chewed her way through at the height of her roid rage.

I found both rather quickly, and went to check out. This store has the obligatory loyalty program, known as Scorecard. The guy ahead of me was just getting sold on signing up for one when I got to the register. Within five minutes, they had his full name, email address, home address and phone number (from the exchange, and his 20-somethingness, I'm pretty sure it was a cell number). When he resisted on the last one, the cashier said, "Oh, that's just to look you up if you don't have your card or keytag. Besides, they have mine."  When told he could not proceed without this detail, he gave his number up. In more ways than one.

During this rigamarole, I saw a notice that Bernie The Manager had posted on the side of the register:


 Please remember how important it is for us to meet our goal of AT LEAST 75 percent compliance with the Scorecard program. Your training will answer all the customers' questions about why this is an important program and why they should sign up for it.

Well, of course it's important. Having that email address alone is of major value to the not-so-corner sporting goods shack, which can now be counted on to start spamming Sal (see, I know his name, and could've known his email address if I'd bothered to write it down) within hours with their latest specials.  Plus, Sal's an active guy; unlike the dude behind him who bought a mouth guard and a cheap pair of shorts, his running shoes were top of the line; their marketing "partners" of swooshes and adidi are gonna want to know that about him. And if that was his mobile number? Not only is he likely to start paying for incoming texts from the store and calls from others who mine that list? Technology now allows the store to track him by cell number within the store, so they know what he's shopping for, where he's tarrying, and what special offers to send- or maybe not send- to him.

All because a nice cashier asked him.  I just said no, as I do for just about every retailer except Wegmans (because I know their privacy policy is much tighter than the typical one).

Buying a DVR cord at Radio Shack last week, I was offered the two-dollar "protection plan" on my twenty-dollar piece of wire.  They wound up unwilling to sell it to me, because I wouldn't snitch out my entire data profile as part of the signup. I gave them my throwaway Google Voice phone number, but because it wasn't already in their system, I could not "buy" this "product" from them without providing full name and home and email addresses to go with it.

Ultimately, I know, the NSA and other government units are likely collecting all this information on us anyway without even asking. But it's still creepier when I see it used so sneakily, and with such social engineering, to train people to give up what little expectation of privacy they may even have left.
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