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Great Post, funny, but closer to fact than some may think.
This IS really embarassing but what the heck....
I have a real liking for Farleys Rusks - yeah, I know.. So does my 15, year old son. They are delicious.
We also buy moist wipes (Baby Wipes) to use in the bathrooms...
I buy the above at Sainsbury's and use a Nectar Card.
Mrs Ringway often asks me if there is something I would like to get off my chest, given that I recieve numerous offers/vouchers for nappies, baby foods, childcare books etc...
This is because the "clever people" at Nectar assume that because of my shopping habits I obviously have a clutch of 1-5 year olds.
Luckily Mrs Ringway knows I'm not that sort of guy - our youngest is 11 -and because I have had my pipework re-arranged there would be a huge stewards inquiry if I managed to produce any more children.
Imagine though, the problems this sort of "intelligence" would cause in a relationship where trust was a problem.
I know the guys who built/run the Tesco scheme, and also some of the other stuff they do too wrt consumer intelligence.
The upshot for the store is that they have more peaks in trade rather then just easter and christmas. They can also streamline the marketing budget by focussing on particular products as well as attempting to cross-sellproducts with a higher rate of success.
The really interesting things these guys do is mapping shopper patterns in-store. They have software that can take the CCTV images and map the routes that shoppers take in the store. This can be correlated to the goods boughts. They can then "optimise" a store layout to drag you past the goods they want to sell you while you follow a "typical" route.
I know that they do this in one store in Sussex - a simple change made was moving offers on premium beers to the end-aisle position next to disposable nappies at the weekend. This is the time hubbies are sent out to buy things (apparently) and the store trebles its volume of premium beer sales in this one move.
But - as said - pay cash, after dark, and wear a hat
I don't mind cctv, the more the merrier it's just that so much info so easily accessible is a worry.
I am self employed and have just completed a supplier registration form for a large organisation. They always seem to ask what my turnover is and I NEVER fill that part of the form in. It's a private thing....