Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"Money in the Land with the Yankee Dollar Bill"

Yesterday I was shopping at Alco up in Caledonia. They've got a new policy: when I paid in cash at the cash register, the sales clerk asked for my zip code.

Why, pray tell? Why ask for my zip code? Why ask for my zip code when I'm paying in cash? Do they want to be able to track me down if the dollar bills bounce?

If that's the case, why don't they require personal identification from me, and then record the series and serial number of each bill? If all merchants did that, you know, they could exhaustively track every cash purchase in the country. They could even make it easier by printing bar codes on paper currency. Or embedding an RFID tag in every bill.

On a more serious note, what purpose is served by asking for my zip code when I pay in cash? I mean, it feels like just one more tiny step toward a comprehensive corporate/governmental surveillance state. Total information awareness!! The only other business I know that requests my zip code for a cash purchase is Radio Shack, and that's one of the reasons I avoid shopping at Radio Shack.

Oh, and remember... their cameras are tracking you out in the parking lot.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Jay said...

Saw part of an old Fraser episode the other night in which the coffee shop he goes to asks his zip. When asked, after telling Fraser it can be any zip code, the clerk snarls that it unlocks the register. I wonder if some of that goes on or what.

I seem to recall having been asked zip code elsewhere besides Radio Shack (which used to ask your whole address, back before the zip thing, which I thought they'd said they were ceasing to do), but I don't remember if it was Staples or Office Max or Home Depot or what.

I find it annoying, but not identifying enough to be that awful. Like they're just trying to get an idea of their geographical target market for the store.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 8:18:00 AM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

Come to think of it, at Alco yesterday they did also have new cash registers.

Annoying thing is, they're the only game in town. And for me, even that's a distance: either a 15 mile drive up to Alco in Caledonia; or a 22 mile drive to Pamida down in Waukon; or else drive all the way up to La Crosse.

Next time I'll have to give them a fake zip code...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 8:36:00 AM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

Update: I was up at Alco again today, and this time when they asked I gave them a phony zip code! Bwahahahahaha!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 1:45:00 PM  

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