General Question

ibstubro's avatar

Have you found a good way to circumvent the system and limit the way your activities and purchases are tracked?

Asked by ibstubro (18765points) February 15th, 2015

I find “Store Cards” annoying. You know, those cards that you have to carry and swipe in order to get the price that the store has openly posted as the sale price. I don’t like giving them my information, and I detest carrying the cards.

Simple solution? I asked around until I found a friend that already had both Walgreen’s and CVS store cards. I enter her phone number at the register, she gets credit for my purchases, and I keep my anonymity.

Do you have any tricks to get the best price and protect your privacy? In person or on-line?

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15 Answers

keobooks's avatar

I do the same thing with my inlaws. They LOVE getting all the bonuses and savings or whatever they get from using those cards. So I just use their info.

Oh… also the cards work if you don’t register them at all but always bring them in. I have several cards I never bothered registering and they still get discounts and stuff.

ibstubro's avatar

I didn’t know that about not registering the cards, @keobooks. I hate carrying them, but better than giving my life history and carrying the darned card.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I don’t have a blanket policy. I’m situational in this respect.

I have a Kroger discount card. Yes, they do track what I purchase. But I’m getting something in return: Coupons every month for stuff I buy regularly, rebate checks about every 6 weeks, and discounts when I buy gas. So for me, I’m OK with trading some of my purchasing habits with Kroger, because I am being compensated for it.

On the other hand, I don’t (and won’t) carry a CVS card, because they track you but don’t give much return – a discount only on certain items, and not a very good one at that.

And on my PC, I use Ghostery in order to disallow all tracking beacons.

Basically, if a merchant wants my data, they have to give me something of value.

ibstubro's avatar

I loved my Kroger card, @elbanditoroso, and then they closed my store.
Great benefits!

jca's avatar

I don’t go to CVS very often, as whatever I could buy there I usually get from Costco or Walmart for way cheaper. However, with CVS I tell them I don’t have my card (can’t find it, actually, and not looking to get another one), so I let the cashier ring in their card.

Silence04's avatar

The only way to escape it is to use cash for your purchases, as debit/credit cards are tracked the same exact way.

But if you still want to take advantage of some savings while paying with cash and without signing up for a card, just use Jenny’s number: 867–5309

ibstubro's avatar

My first encounter with CVS card, the cashier refused to use her (or the store) card, @jca. I walked out without buying anything.

I have a friend who’s daughter was working at a Big Box store…maybe Best Buy. She got a rewards card, and whenever the customer didn’t have a card, she scanned hers instead. Win-win, right?
WRONG. The daughter bought a camera there at a discount, the company tracked it and threatened to prosecute the mother (17 yo girl daughter) for the balance. They were very hard-assed and unpleasant about it.

And here, I thought the girl ingenious!

jca's avatar

For me, @ibstubro, when I signed up for the CVS card it was so long ago and I’m not sure what my phone number was at that time. I tell them forget it, I don’t remember what my number was. Then if they didn’t want to scan theirs, I’d walk out unless the card didn’t offer me any savings on what I was buying anyway (which is possible, as not everything is on sale all the time).

ibstubro's avatar

I have a friend that has apparently signed up for every card on the face of the Earth. Her number is in my phone so I just punch in her her home number and, bingo!, I have the sale price and she has the points.
She’s even told me to feel free to use the points if I can, as she just has the card for sales, not rewards. Doesn’t even know what the points are, or how they work. lol

stanleybmanly's avatar

If you insist, most of the chains will give you the club card even if you refuse to give your name and phone number. And if they don’t, then make up a name and fictitious number. You will still get the discounts and accumulate points, but you must pay in cash (as @Silence04 stated above) in order to remain anonymous.

Zaku's avatar

Yes, I collect anonymous loyalty cards and hand out and trade the extras with others, and/or use phone numbers of others for stores that allow such. In some cases, this actually increases rewards because if several people use one number, that account generates rewards for mass consumption.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Whenever possible, buy in person and pay cash.

ibstubro's avatar

I hate carrying the cards, though, @stanleybmanly.

Yup, yup, yup, @Zaku. My friend with all the cards has given a number of people permission to use her card/phone number. If the points are worth anything, one day she’ll have a million. :)

hearkat's avatar

I use a Google Voice number and an email address also created for junk.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@ibstubro The one surefire method of escape is cash. And here’s a thing that I’ve thought about since I started paying attention in the 80s. The underground economy in this country must be absolutely enormous. In fact I doubt if ANYONE has a handle on just how much money is flying around out there “off the books”. I suspect that the enormity of the underground economy is a basic reason that economists never seem to “get it right” when it comes to predicting anything.

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