I hate to single out a single store, because they all do it. But my most recent experience with this was at the local Walgreen's pharmacy. I use their pharmacy because they sell a specific manufacturer's generic drug that works better for me than the generics sold by another pharmacy.
But my problem with Walgreen's is their constant nagging for a phone number so they can put a person's identity with the purchase. Sure, it's important to the pharmacy that the right person gets the right prescription. But they've taken it farther. Walgreen's is not just a pharmacy, it's also a big retailer. The two should be separate, but Walgreen's wants everything in its data base.
A few months ago one of the clerks in the pharmacy required that I provide her all the necessary information for a Walgreen's Rewards Card before I could fill a prescription. So whatever wall there was before has a pretty big crack in it. To their credit, the pharmacy requires a separate submission of the phone number for the store data base, so there's a possibility that they are trying to keep it separate, unless the customer simply goes along with it.
It's not enough that a modern computerized inventory system can tell them exactly what and when something is sold. They want to know who was the buyer. Many customers are fine with this. But is it really prudent to provide so much detail about the products we use to a company who is building a huge data base on us? What will ultimately become of that information?
And how much is it worth? Here's what nocards.org threw into an article about Albertson's recent asset sale:
If you were wondering just what the data compiled by their "preferred" card might be worth this information from the sale of prescription data from Winn-Dixie's bankruptcy filing might be of interest. As Winn-Dixie closed some of their stores they sold of the pharmacy records. CVS paid $6.4 million for the records from 62 stores, Eckerd bought the records from 20 stores for $2.7 million, Kroger paid $1.47 million for 12 stores records, Target Corp. purchased nine store records for $1.15 million and Publix bought 11 store records for $1.9 million. The press release stated, almost as an afterthought, that the purchaser also got the remaining inventory. Interesting world we live in when the data is considered more valuable than the remaining products are.
Then there are the hackers. Seems like every few months we hear about some major retailer suffering a cyber breach with thousands of customers' information stolen by a hacker. FBI Director Comer warns us that, "The U.S. government, its infrastructure and private businesses are vulnerable to potentially major disruptive cybersecurity attacks ...". We've been warned.
By the way, when the hackers do obtain all that personal information, what do they do with it? Delete it out of respect for us, no doubt.