In article <email@example.com>,
> Today was my first time in the Container Store. I bought something;
> at checkout, she asked for my phone number. I politely declined.
> She assured me that they didn't sell the number; their purpose, she
> said, was to tell them where their customers were coming from for
> store planning and general demographic purposes.
> I'm no Einstein, but my mind works quickly enough that it took me all
> of about half a second to realize that this was utter and complete BS.
> I even told her that, and explained it:
> 1) if you want to know where your customers are coming from, use the
> ZIP code where they live.
> 2) If you insist on using a phone number, you need only the area code
> and exchange in order to pin down a geographic location. You don't
> need my entire number.
> 3) What about people who have only cell phones and no land lines?
> "Oh, the company we use has some way of working through that," she
> said. This poor babe. She had no idea what she was saying or to whom
> she was saying it. I explained how unless their data collection
> company had inside tracks with the cell companies, which we're finding
> out is HIGHLY frowned upon, a cell phone number is not trackable to a
> physical location for the purposes of demographic planning.
> In other words, the Container Store just throws this BS out there as a
> smokescreen. I told her up front that I didn't believe they'd never
> sell my phone number, and a couple minutes later -- after explaining the
> above -- I restated that.
> Of course, it was like talking to a wall. Nonetheless, it forced me
> to think it all the way through and come to the conclusion that in
> FACT the Container Store is lying to everyone when they say they're
> going to hold your phone number private.
> Either that, or they're spending a lot of time and money and effort
> collecting data that are entirely useless.
> But once they realize the data are useless, they'll just recoup their
> losses by selling the numbers.
> Fortunately she accepted without question my knee-jerk "No, thank you"
> response to her request for my phone number. But she had to plug
> something in; she plugged in all 1s.
> Shades of the old Radio Shack days, when you couldn't buy a 30 cent
> battery without giving up your family tree and medical history.
I know that Bed, Bath & Beyond will occasionally ask for a zip code. I
see that as reasonable. But the zip code in which I live covers a
pretty huge swarth of the city. For example, 02903 covers about 5 square
But I think your assesment is dead on. The Container Store is not using
it for analysis, they're using it as a revenue stream. This is
particularly true since the advent of VoIP and cell. Someone had to know
that when the program was implemented.
> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Speaking of Radio Shack, at the store
> in Skokie, IL where I worked as one of the 'you have questions, we
> have answers' people, (in other words a humble sales person for a two
> year period in 1994-95 96?) they were big on the that 'get a name and
> _address_ and a _phone number_' for even a small purchase like
> batteries. I went along with it and based, I assume, on my good looks
> and charm managed to obtain a lot of names, addresses and phone
> numbers. My specialty was telephones and telephone equipment. The
> store manager and the regional manager and the _area_ manager (as well
> as we clerks) all got such _tremendous_ heat from the general public
> RS finally discontinued the system. It was a horid system, in a
> terrible place to work. PAT]
Oh do I remember those days. They used to just ask for name to which I'd
reply "C-A-S-H". Most got the message quite clearly and had a CASH
account setup already. But those who didn't simply lost a sale.
That being said, I'd been and still am on RS mailing lists pretty much