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