Those sticky, peeling store cards that take up space on your keychain can do more than save you 50 cents off a loaf of bread– they can cost you everything you own.
Now loosing your keys can become as dangerous as giving a thief your full name, address, and clear access through your front door. You’d think stores would take extra care to prevent things like this from happening.
I happened to work at CVS during the advent of the Extra Care Card. As a cashier, it was my job to tell customers we were holding their discounts hostage. If they ever wanted to see a sale price again, they would have to give up their personal information and allow CVS to track their purchases with the card.
To help persuade customers to add our card to their keyring, I was instructed to tell them, “If you loose your keys, anyone can drop them in a mail box and CVS will get them back to you.”
That is, if the person who finds your keychain is nice. If they are naughty, they will buy a Snickers with your card, find your name on the receipt, look you up in the phonebook, and then use your own keys to walk into your house and back out with your valuables.
Now not all stores that offer cards print your name on the receipt. For example, my latest receipt from Stop and Shop was name-free. But I have noticed it printed in bold letters on my receipts from CVS.
As for the stores that do personalize receipts, enough is enough. We let you track when we have a cold, or diarrhea, or a kid with head lice. The least you could do is keep our information between you and your analysts. Or we could shop at stores like Wal-Mart, where the prices are always lower– without a card that makes us an easy target.