Sunday, November 02, 2008

Supermarket surveillance

So you know that supermarket rewards cards help create nice consumer profiles of you. A concrete example of this just arrived in the mail from the grovery store we tend to frequent. It included 16 "personalized coupons" for things we "buy the most." They were (of course) pretty, scarily accurate (missed on a couple of things: we don't buy Coke Classic, for example, and do we really buy black olives that often? Maybe. And the offer of the free cashews is just trying to redirect our nut-buying habits onto new products). But they were also, sigh, really useful.

Of course, what the store can't profile are the things we buy at other places because they aren't available at their store (fair trade, organic coffee, for example), so the system just reinforces specific things from their own stock. It's a closed cybernetic system (teaching Andrejevic's iSpy next week, so this is all bouncing around in my cranium anyway).

1 comment:

Ted Striphas said...

I'm loving Joseph Turow's Niche Envy for exactly the same reason--and teaching Andrejevic's iSpy next semester.