Would you like to become a member?

The missus and I availed ourselves of some “us” time ( kids in school ) and went out to lunch to celebrate her 40th birthday.   A new store/location of a restaurant we have been to before.   The food excellent, the venue excellent.  All in all, a perfect lunch.

At the cashier, paying for our meal, we were kindly asked if we’d like to become members and we took an application form.

The following day I had a look at the form and was surprised at just how much information was required for membership.   The benefit of membership was a discount on meals upon presentation of a membership card.   So I can understand the request to provide name and postal address as they would mail the card out to us.    However, why on earth is number of members in the family with genders/ages necessary.  There was even one of those tick boxes in which you broadly indicated your annual income.   This just wasn’t going to happen.    That’s too much personal information to disclosure for far to little value.

I recall on a few occasions of the years there have been many and varied offers to become a member of this, that or the other.   All of which had quite lengthy application forms.   I know there is a certain amount of personal information that is out there on everyone and readily accessible by whatever entity chooses to buy access to that information, but to willing disclose further information with no certainty on how or who will have access to it, should be of concern.    Our personal information is just that.  Its ours.   In the age of computers and the internet, once something is out “there”, its there forever.

We have never had any form of store card.  Something that the missus and I agree on completed.    They do not need to know what I buy, when I buy or how much of it I buy.   My take on store cards is that once you’ve chosen to disclosure certain personal information about yourself, you have implicitly chosen to disclosure your retail behavior to them also.   Maybe if there was a tick box that clearly spelled it out “Yes its ok to spy on my shopping habits?” then someone might second guess the membership.

I think its important to stop and think before becoming a member of anything and ask yourself some questions about what is being asked of you and decide whether parting with the last vestiges of your personal information is worth it.

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