Sometimes I get a little (okay, more than a little) creeped out by how much information of mine other people (usually large corporations) have or want. Can it be that valuable? If it is, how come I'm not making any money off of it? If it's not, them how come they seem to want it so badly?
My wife and I will be visiting the Ozark Mountains later in the year. We will almost certainly be doing some hiking. Not wanting to buy new shoes right before the trip and not have them properly broken in, I headed out to the mall today in search of appropriate footwear. I don't really like shopping, and I really don't like malls, but I sucked it up and went to a discount outlet that is the first store inside the entrance to the mall. I looked around for a few minutes until I found a pair of shoes that looked like my style. The first pair I tried on fit comfortably. So far so good. Then I went to the checkout lane...
"Have you shopped with us before?"
"What's your email address?" I like how they assume everyone has an email address.
"I'm not going to give you my email address."
Look of consternation from the clerk.
"Okay. What's your zipcode?"
"I'm not going to give you my zipcode."
Dead silence from the clerk while she finished ringing up my transaction. I tried to engage her in conversation. No go. She was done with me.
It reminded me of a time years ago when I was denied the opportunity to purchase a candy bar at Rose's Discount Store in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina because I would not give the cashier my address. I asked the girl "Do you mean to tell me that I can't buy a piece of candy in this store without telling you where I live?"
She said "That's right. I have to have it."
I told her "Then you don't have to have my money."
It was the stupidest thing I ever heard of...a capitalist refusing to take money unless they could also obtain personal information about the customer.
It seems like everybody's got their hand out, trying to latch onto your personal information. I recently tried to sign up on a music website that would not process my information unless I also gave them my telephone number. Facebook is bad about that, too. "We need your telephone number in case you get locked out of your account." No. They "need" my telephone number so that they can sell it to someone else. "Where do you live? Where did you go to high school? Where do you work? What's your favorite movie? What books do you read?"...ad nauseum.
Want to see a doctor? "What's your social security number?"
Want to set up an email account? "What's your mother's maiden name?
Shades of Big Brother. Of course if they were really my big brother, they would already know all of those things, and they wouldn't have to ask.
That's all I'm going to share with you.