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Data tracking through Loyalty cards.

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posted on Sep, 22 2019 @ 08:42 PM
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This information may already be public knowledge but I wanted to bring it up for luls.

You know the wonderful little Loyalty cards that almost every store offers? From big chains to small ones when you go to a Wallmart, Home Depot, Rite aid and Costco(mandatory). These cards can often save you some funds on purchases like buying 2 for the price of one as long as you have a membership/loyalty or those coveted 10/10$ (regular 2.99$).

Not only do these companies keep track of how much you spend, they also gather data on what you buy, when you buy it and the pattern of your purchases. The significance of this is that while our government is grilling big tech companies like Faceberg or Zuckerbook, companies like Kroger who own multiple supermarket chains have access to spending habits and Twinkies flavor preference of millions.
(Side note. Online retailers like Amazon do it too but it is already under too many spotlights for other problems)

It is unknown what is being done with all this information but the one fact I wish to bring to attention (my poor writing skills notwithstanding) is that very few people are paying attention to these "smaller" companies. For individuals like myself, opting out of the cards is nonsensical as the information gathered from me akin to a single Anchovy in school of fish. Whether it is there or not, makes no change.

The point of this post is not to make anyone afraid of what dark things may be done with your sacred date but just to point out that this is happening. It is most imperative to keep a cool level head on information. For all we know for each Zucker and each Berg we can have a company who keeps their users data and habits safe.

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”
― H.P. Lovecraft

Let someone with more free time than me investigate and find out.




posted on Sep, 22 2019 @ 09:27 PM
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It also happens with the banks overseas. When you make a deposit of 10 grand, the salesperson visits your house to sale you on non govt. uninsured investments. I know, I have them visit and they know I don't speak Japanese too well so they send a few English speaking sales people over. I listen and I listen, yet they want an answer. Finally I ask the last group what have you made off these investments you are trying me to invest, their answer, we can not talk about our personal investments. LOL



posted on Sep, 22 2019 @ 10:25 PM
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a reply to: Heruactic

Looks like all your loyalty data was bought by IPG in acquiring acxiom. Wonder who IPG is...

acquistion story



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 01:07 AM
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It is unknown what is being done with all this information


They 100% use it for advertising, buying, predicting trends, creating trends, etc.

When I wrote "advertorials" (which almost always look like legit articles nowadays), we bought our data about upcoming trends from a company that administers facebook quizzes. Like the kind your Mom is constantly posting that say what kind of wife/mother/friend she is, etc. These companies have SO MUCH DATA on people, but they dont particularly care about individual data. It's mostly used to see what tactics will work to sell people things.



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 01:16 AM
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originally posted by: Atsbhct

It is unknown what is being done with all this information


They 100% use it for advertising, buying, predicting trends, creating trends, etc.

When I wrote "advertorials" (which almost always look like legit articles nowadays), we bought our data about upcoming trends from a company that administers facebook quizzes. Like the kind your Mom is constantly posting that say what kind of wife/mother/friend she is, etc. These companies have SO MUCH DATA on people, but they dont particularly care about individual data. It's mostly used to see what tactics will work to sell people things.



This is interesting, would you please expand a bit more on that, if it's not too bothersome?

I know this happens every day but it would be very cool to see or know the mechanism from "the inside" so to speak : )



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 01:19 AM
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a reply to: Heruactic

I feel like they still do this through your bank cards, even if you don't have a loyalty card, I mean you gave all your info to the bank and you go there and buy a giant screen and get a receipt and it went through the bank and shows up on your bank statement

This is kind of just a way to get the same info the bank will get but like making a copy on the way before it reaches the bank



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 01:19 AM
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Though it's not being reported in the US that I know of, read an article yesterday that Home Depot and Lowes are both being sued for using security cameras and specialized facial recognition software for the same purposes...

Apparently when you walk in the computer can identify you and cross reference you with a staggering amount of information... Criminal history, if you've been in other stores in the same chain, how often you come to that chain, what you buy, how much you spend on average per visit etc.

The article mentioned that larger retailers like Walmart and Target do the same but no lawyers will take them on.

As somebody who managed a big box retail store for a few years I can understand the rational behind tracking people via all of these tricks. It's information that would make loss prevention easier.

On the other hand I also know that corporations wouldn't hesitate to use such information for the purposes of consumer exploitation. A sales staff with access to detailed information about your spending and shopping habits is extremely easy to weaponize. If a sales force knows your weaknesses and what you tend to impulse buy - it's much easier for them to dangle temptation under your nose and seduce you into overspending.



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 01:25 AM
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Of course they do this. Why else do you think they'd give you discounts and such? They are essentially buying the information of off you.

I thought that was common knowledge.



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 01:25 AM
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a reply to: Heruactic

I remember this coming up over 20 years ago, it's pretty well known that they sell the data to analytical companies, or analyze the data themselves. Their aim is to predict what products people are interested in and what can be done to encourage them to buy more things. They mostly look for patterns and trends in retail consumption.

Credit card companies have been doing this for decades. They can legally buy and sell data on the open market with retail such as James and addresses removed from them. It's a big business worth a lot of money, and is One of the reasons that the Europeans are bringing in all of these data protection rules.

One of the biggest purchasers of this kind of data is a amazon. They have brought so much data that they can actually tie the anonymous credit card and loyalty card data down to real people using predictive algorithms. So if you've ever helped at Amazon they may be able to connect you to multiple store cards and credit cards even if you use a different name of address by looking at what you buy and when.
edit on 23-9-2019 by AaarghZombies because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 01:33 AM
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As the saying goes, if something is free then you are the product.



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 06:32 AM
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originally posted by: Malisa
This is interesting, would you please expand a bit more on that, if it's not too bothersome?

I know this happens every day but it would be very cool to see or know the mechanism from "the inside" so to speak : )


If you think about it from the retailer's point of view like Kroger, Walmart, etc., consider what it takes to keep their shelves stocked. They have hundreds (thousands) of stores. Let's say you're in charge of making sure that every store gets the products they need for their customers. You know the basics like milk, eggs and butter always need to be on the shelf. You probably have historical records of what has sold at each location over a period of time. The most optimum is to only stock what is needed at any given time. Loyalty cards helps the company do that. if they know 80% of the locals buy Bud Light on Friday, you truck it there "just in time" and carry less Miller Light.

When I go to the grocery store, I expect to find everything I want. I have no problem with Kroger keeping track of what I buy but the items better be on the shelf when I get there! There's nothing in the data that would harm me in some way. Well, that is until the Russians or Chinese took over all the grocery stores and decide to make sure I don't get what I want just before a massive invasion!



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 09:27 AM
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a reply to: AaarghZombies




I remember this coming up over 20 years ago, it's pretty well known that they sell the data to analytical companies, or analyze the data themselves. Their aim is to predict what products people are interested in and what can be done to encourage them to buy more things. They mostly look for patterns and trends in retail consumption.


I do too. Believe it or not cell phones were able to do this back then but people weren't ready for it.
Little by little we are ok with it.



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 11:38 AM
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Looking for patterns in data has been around since dot but really took off as computing power came cheaper along with the ability to slap stupid amounts of storage alongside it and see what it spits out meant more targetted advertising etc and the cycle keeps going.

Always remember 20+ years ago walmart discovered that on a Friday putting beer next to the nappies in the baby section increased beer sales as the dads would pick up the weekend baby stuff and since there just happened to be some beer right there they just popped some in the cart.

Retailers are in a more cut throat environment so every little thing can have major impacts, knowing little details like theres a lot of Greeks in an area can tell you to order lots of lamb,eggs and lemons for othodox easter and you could make a killing especially if you also stock BBQ stuff.



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 11:40 AM
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No secret, I only use one card at the grocery store, fake name and fake phone #. I love how these companies want a phone # and/or email address.. I just say f@ck that, and explain to them why..they look at me like I'm crazy.



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 11:58 AM
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originally posted by: Atsbhct
Like the kind your Mom is constantly posting that say what kind of wife/mother/friend she is, etc. These companies have SO MUCH DATA on people, but they dont particularly care about individual data. It's mostly used to see what tactics will work to sell people things.



DON'T YOU TALK ABOUT MY MOM!

Oh, and she would be a Snow Leopard from what I saw on her page.



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 12:15 PM
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There is no putting that Genie back into the bottle.

I think the best hope we have is in recognizing the power of our dollars.

If we are more committed to starving the beast, we at least have a chance.

We may have to live in a world with monsters, but we can at least try to choose which monsters we live with.



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 12:47 PM
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Here's the really criminal part of all this (IMO)...most people simply cannot afford to shop withOUT one of these frequent flyer cards! It's not uncommon to see 30-50% discounts when using these cards. Can most people afford to pay 30-50% more than the already high prices they're paying for groceries and basic supplies? Certainly not! So, they've got ya, and there's not really a reasonable alternative.

I think it's also very interesting to see just how much all this data is actually worth to them. In addition to savings in the store itself, I can generally get $1 dollar (or more) off per gallon of gasoline every time I fill up. Add all those discounts up and they equal a whopping amount of aggregate dollars. So the data must be worth vast sums to these companies.

One thing you know for sure is, the data is in fact shared. How do we know this? Because, now you're starting to see businesses sharing loyalty cards. In other words, you can use your grocery store loyalty card at a gas station not associated with the grocery store. I see this all the time here now. And, this wouldn't be possible if all of this amassed data wasn't being shared because there'd be no incentive for them to accept these cards if there wasn't a benefit to them.

Couple this data with location, credit card data, time of day and frequency and you know a whole lot about a person! A whole lot!

However, here's an unseen problem with this whole system, one most don't realize. As all this data streamlines all their marketing (and product stocking) plans, it also limits your choices in the long run. If I buy peaches every day when they're in season, then the store starts stocking more peaches. Their shelf space didn't change, so when they stock more peaches they have less room for something else. Except...I don't want to eat peaches every day for the rest of my life, and next week I might want apples. (very simplistic example, but when you scale it up it's true). Walmart is notorious for this, and I've watched it happen. Walmart will stock something one week, but not next week (or ever). You can never plan on Walmart having something you bought there before.

Crazy world out there.
edit on 9/23/2019 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 02:40 PM
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On a related note, this type of market research is nothing new. It's been going on for decades, even before personal computers. Some may recall the Neilson ratings systems they used for television to rate TV program viewership back in the 80's. Back then you could get paid if you let them mount a box on your TV which monitored what TV shows you watched. They did this to figure out how many viewers watched certain shows so advertisers would know where to spend the most of their money to get to the most people. They also analyzed what types of shows were likely to sell what types of products...hence the origin of the name "soap" opera during the day (most viewers were most likely to buy soap products).



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 02:43 PM
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a reply to: Heruactic

The rule to always keep in mind is that nothing is free. If it is "free" then YOU are the product.

Your information is being sold to someone for some purpose. Usually to try for follow up sales or targeted advertising.



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 04:21 PM
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a reply to: Malisa

Advertorials are actually kind of crazy and drive a huge amount of sales. Unlike actual advertisements, advertorials only sometimes have to declare that they're advertisements.

Often times they sell a trend, or an idea.

I've written advertorials on paint trends; plant-based foods; fathers day gifts are a really big one.

The father's day gift angle is actually really interesting! So, every year writers who do this kind of piece work will usually take or bid for fathers day pieces in March/April. You get a big package on what companies KNOW that Dads actually want. This info comes straight from data collection.

See, Dads get the same gifts every single year, bbq stuff, sweaters, gift certificates for the hardware store , mugs, razors. BUT, what the data says Dads really WANT is video game stuff, gift certificates for haircuts and barber services, alcohol, family photos, consumables, and things more specifically targeted to their individual hobbies.

So, then a writer writes a big article like, "The 20 HOTTEST Father's Day Gifts", and you do your best to convince people to buy Fathers Day gifts that will essentially generate more sales later in the year. It's a cycle.

Mothers Day on the other hand is all about THE BIG THREE: Jewelry; Flowers; Cards (gift and paper). Even though there's tons of data on exactly what Moms want (spa services, luxury beauty, mini getaways), the data overwhelmingly shows that those three high profit margin items are well recieved and sell well, so you don't mess with that formula.




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