July 12, 2005

Customer Disservice

Whenever I'm buying something at a store and a checkout clerk asks for my zip code, I generally oblige. My zip code is not so personal that I have to guard it like my social security number. The 11215 zip code probably covers thousands of people, enough that I don't have to worry about Banana Republic ninjas tracking me down and attacking me with khakis.

But I draw the line at my e-mail address, phone number and other more specific information. Like most people, I get enough junk e-mail and regular mail and certainly don't need more from the likes of Virgin Records or the companies to which they sell their address lists. When stores ask for this information, or when I have to fill out a form that requires my e-mail address, I typically give a fake one.

Recently, I was at the Container Store and as the sales clerk rang up my purchase he asked for my phone number for the store's computer records. A transcript, recorded in my head, follows.

CLERK: Can I have a home phone number please?

ME: What do you need it for?

CLERK: We call our customers on occasion to let them know about sales and special offers.

ME: That's okay, but I don't need any of that information.

CLERK: Oh, don't worry, we won't call you. So, may we have your phone number please?

ME: But you just said you call customers to let them know about sales.

CLERK: Can you imagine if we called every customer in New York City? That would be millions of phone calls. We won't call you.

ME: If you aren't going to call me, then you don't need my phone number.

CLERK: Okay, but then we can't let you know about special savings.

And then the universe imploded.

Posted by Doug at July 12, 2005 01:37 PM


Posted by: Diane at July 12, 2005 03:08 PM

That's funny! I don't give out my information either, but I think the real reason they want your phone number is to do a reverse-lookup on your information (name, address, etc.) Then they add you to their list of customers and you become part of their demographic information. Somewhere in some humungous database, you're then identified as a Banana Republic customer for all eternity. At least that's my theory.

Ok, and I admit it- the above email address is fake. Why do you need that information anyway? ;)

Posted by: P at July 12, 2005 04:31 PM

Mine's fake too, go ahead, email me

Posted by: ellison at July 12, 2005 08:14 PM

One of these days I'll get around to changing this form so you don't have to leave an email address. Even when I post here I put in gibberish in the field!

Posted by: Doug at July 12, 2005 11:20 PM

I just tell them my number is "unlisted" and they seem to accept that. I think they use your number to look up your address and sell it, so you end up receiving more junk mail! :(

Oh--and I use my real address on here...and I've gotten two inquiries because of this site!

Doug..are you giving out my address?? ;)

Posted by: E from Michigan at July 13, 2005 08:38 PM

It is the policy of PlanetGordon.com to never sell or reveal the e-mail addresses or other personal information of its users. Unless someone offers me a ton of money.

Posted by: Doug at July 13, 2005 09:37 PM