I read an article this week, and thought of it last night when I was at Bed Bath & Beyond, a chain housewares store.

Has Privacy Become a Luxury Good?

It was a last-minute thing and I didn’t happen to have one of the discount coupons that occasionally show up in our home mailbox addressed to “Neighbor.” So I paid full price for something I might otherwise have gotten a discount on.

But at the store there was a sign saying I could send a text message to some number and get a discount coupon on my phone. If I’m not going to give them my mailing address for one, I’m certainly not giving them my mobile number.

So I didn’t get the discount. It might not seem that way at first, but it’s paying for privacy too.

Another way to handle it is like “my” Safeway loyalty card (or the phone number linked to it, anyway.) A friend signed up years ago, and since then several of us have used the same phone number to access the discounts at the store and she gets any associated with card activity. I’ve used that phone number at stores all over the place (including Canada.) Sometimes I give that as my phone number when I have to provide one for a store account (like Fry’s rain checks.)


  1. Steven says:

    The neat thing with BB&B coupons is that they’re not very strict. I’ve seen people bring a stack of coupons in with a receipt and get money back from a purchase they made on a different day. Done it myself, in fact.

  2. feorlen says:

    I have been told I could do that, but haven’t tried. Most of the time I’m there because I need something right away. I do like that I get random ones in the mail without my name associated, those are one of the few useful things that show up at the home address I never give out.

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