Sunday, 27 May 2012

My father dislikes using his

credit card. He has never been quite certain about the security of such things. He does not like cheques either. Unless it is a large sum of money he prefers to pay cash.
I shop using cash because of this. I do not have a credit card. I have never had one. I do have a debit card but I use it sparingly and there is only ever a "small" amount of money in it - well, it is a large sum to me but any potential thief would probably be disgusted at how much I do not have in my debit account.
I also avoid other cards where I can - apart from library cards.
One of the reasons for this is that I see no reason to give other people more information abuot me than I wish to give them. I know there are many other people who feel the same way but give in and allow the "benefits" given by a card to overcome their reluctance to share their personal information.
They end up on lists, on mailing lists, on advertising lists, on research lists, their information is cross-referenced and stored and sent whizzing around the world and out into cyberspace. It is captured and analysed and placed on yet more lists.  And yes, inevitably, some information about me is out there too.
Oh yes.
Then, on Saturday, I had occasion to go into Woolworths - the supermarket chain supermarket in our shopping centre. Now I do not normally shop in Woolworths. I stopped doing this some years ago when they went over to as much of their "own brand" (frequently made or sourced in China) as they could possibly do. They were ignoring local sources. The variety was no longer there etc etc. Since then I have gone in there only for things not available in the locally owned supermarket which sources as many local products as it can. Is the locally owned supermarket more expensive? In the end, no. The staff are friendly. They will do a home delivery without any fuss. The variety is there - apart from the brand of tea my father prefers I can usually get anything I need in there.
We needed tea so I went into Woolworths. Someone I know was in there for the same purpose as myself.
          "Cat, come and have a look at this."
She showed me a label on a shelf - a "special". Oh yes, very nice. If you need coffee it would be half price.
Then she showed me some other "specials". Again, very nice prices.
But - yes there was a but - there was a catch. Woolworths runs a scheme they call an "Everyday Rewards Card". You give your personal information to Woolworths in return for a card. This allows Woolworths to work out not only what they have sold but precisely who they have sold it to. The idea makes me feel very uncomfortable. It is not necessary for them to know. The card is supposed to give you a discount - and some of the discounts in Woolworths were only available to members of this "club".
Now I know why they want to do this. They see it as smart marketing. It is going to allow them to target their advertising even more effectively. Their profits will go up still higher. As Coles and Woolworths own about 70% of the market between them this could climb even higher. Their prices will go higher as well. The variety will not be there. Local producers will find it still harder. (Woolworths imports "bake at home" bread from the United States to give you an idea of how non-local they are.)
I looked at one of the "specials". In other circumstances I would have stocked up on this. I did not. I think I am better off. I hope I am - and that the locals are too.

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