Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Safeway Club Club

The first rule of Safeway Club Club is you don't talk about Safeway Club Club.
  (+42, -7)(+42, -7)(+42, -7)
(+42, -7)
  [vote for,

Around where I (and several other halfbakers) live, there are these supermarkets called Safeway. If you give them your name, address and phone number, you can have a little card that lets you get the lower "Club" prices without having to clip coupons. Many people see this as a scam to find out personal information about the customers and manipulate them. Whatever. But, for those people, there should be Safeway Club Club.

The way this would work is that members would obtain a Safeway Card and then trade it with a random member of the group. This would happen once a week or so, or maybe just after a member had used the card. This would probably keep Safeway from building up a coherent picture of their customers and allow them to retain anonymity, while still getting those "low, low" prices.

If this is your first time reading about Safeway Club Club, you have to annotate and vote.

centauri, Jan 05 2001

Fun With Marketers http://www.halfbake..._20With_20Marketers
Same commendable impulse [Uncle Nutsy, Jan 05 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

(?) Anonymity option for Safeway cards http://seattletimes...98/trub_093098.html
You can ask to be known only as "Safeway Customer". [egnor, Jan 05 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

(?) Safeway Club Card application http://www.safeway.com/Club_Card_App.asp
Note the privacy statement. [egnor, Jan 05 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Why "club cards" are not like the Soviet Union. http://angryflower.com/only4d.gif
[egnor, Jan 05 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

ObAntiCardLobby: C.A.S.P.I.A.N http://www.nocards.org/
``Back when I used fake cards, I would sometimes get a strange, gloating sense of satisfaction from cheating and "getting away with it". That feeling is far from ennobling, however, and left unchecked can begin to pervade other aspects of your life.'' [jutta, Jan 05 2001]

(?) Barcodes http://mediaservice...610371385524857.jpg
It may be too late for privacy. [maniacr, Oct 04 2004]

Ultimate Safeway Shopper http://www.cockeyed...timate_shopper.html
Already been done [ywong, Oct 04 2004]

(?) safeway card club, baked http://www.wired.co...,1367,59589,00.html
someone broke the first rule about safeway club... [dbsousa, Oct 04 2004]

10 Reasons Not to Use a Fake Card http://www.nocards....ssays/nofakes.shtml
Some arguments against pseudonymity as a monkeywrench. [LoriZ, Oct 04 2004]


       Where I live if you spend $500 before Thanksgiving you get a free turkey. If you switched cards, you'd be donating your turkey to someone else.
smylly, Jan 05 2001

       The basic point- there's just too much advertising these days- is sound, and this earns my vote, but I think the "Fun With Marketers" idea has more potential, because I'd imagine most Safeway Club Club members would buy similar things.
Uncle Nutsy, Jan 05 2001

       A Safeway checker let me in on this: Just enter 123-456-7890 as your phone number on the card-swipe keypad thing. No card needed, no club necessary; you get all the discounts and keep your anonymity. And someone, somewhere, is listed as being the world's most incredible grocery consumer.   

       Think of it as "cypherpunks/cypherpunks" for the check-out aisle.   


       Personally, I see absolutely nothing wrong with exchanging marketing data for discounts, as long as the terms are well known (and, in the case of the Safeway club cards, they're pretty well known). Yeah, yeah, tell me about how Safeway club cards are the first step on a long slippery slope that will end up with everyone that has brown eyes being herded off to the gas chambers. Go ahead, spin the story, I dare you...
egnor, Jan 06 2001

       It's all fine and well until your card is picked by the carton-of-unfiltered-camels-a-day guy and then safeway sells YOUR buying habits to your insurance company.
raisin, Jan 06 2001

       There's another company that once pledged never to share any of your information with any other company: Amazon.com.   

       They later changed the privacy policy. The really notable thing about this is that if you agreed to their original privacy policy, they won't take you out of their database. The end result is that lots of people gave information to Amazon.com when Amazon.com said that it would never be shared, and now a new policy that these people never agreed to is being forced on them!
mwburden, Jan 07 2001

       what's wrong with them knowing who you are, what you buy? so they know what you buy, they know what to stock, et cetera...i think it's too paranoid to be worried about a little thing like that. if it gets to you too much, just clip the coupons.
Urania, Jan 16 2001

       In order to know what to stock, they don't need to know what I buy, just what they sell - that's information they already have.
jutta, Jan 17 2001

       Urania: but if you're buying something really embarrasing, you want as few people as possible to know about it. Also, if they know the kind of stuff you buy, they may sell your info to phone solicitors, etc.
nick_n_uit, Jan 17 2001

       Just last night I was in the local Food Lion. They have these "MVP" cards, similar to what is described here. Knowing full well that I did not actually posess one of said cards, but also knowing that the cashiers are equipped with dummy cards of their own, when the cashier asked if I had my card I said yes and then began idly pawing around my pockets and looking in my wallet. A moment later I looked back up at her and said "I must not have it with me" wistfully. She gasped, remarked something, and then scanned her own card. I saved *72!* cents per bottle of soda (1.29 vs .57) and did not have my privacy violated. 'course, I was outrightly LYING, but that's the price you pay, right? Anyway, the point is, the big brothers that are tracking this stuff are just getting skewed, misrepresented data and really don't care about whether you buy the chunky or the creamy.
absterge, Jan 17 2001

       chunky or creamy what?
barnzenen, Jan 17 2001

       If you do not want to lie, then you can get your own card and always forget it. You have a one time exposure by giving out your information, but nothing will be collected under it.
blahginger, Jan 18 2001

       barnzenen: Milk, of course.
PotatoStew, Jan 18 2001

       no, not milk... condoms.
absterge, Jan 18 2001

       Those club cards are rediculous! A good point is made by Richard Curtis/Ben Elton in Blackadder Back And Forth, when Blackadder tells Queenie, that the Tesco Clubcard is used in order so that "once a month, you may buy a tin of baked beans at half the normal price" Ooh Lucky Us!   

       [Tesco non-loyalty scheme, everytime you go to another shop, they wire money from your bank account,mehahahahaha (that's a sadistic laugh by the way)]
[ sctld ], Jan 18 2001

       did someone say cypherpunks?
cypherpunks, Jun 09 2001

       The consumers' stake in disinformation warfare.   

       Sometimes the flow of information between two parties isn't fair.   

       Assume that supermarket is to market as market is to submarket. Then you've probably seen little trays by cash registers at markets and submarkets containing pennies and labelled "leave a penny take a penny". Submarkets are operating at a scale disadvantage to supermarkets, which can afford to sell merchandise in the midrange of supermarket prices because of value created by their card programs. The midrange of submarket prices is higher, but submarkets are (as of this writing) less likely to have card programs, so you the consumer can figure the difference is the amount you are paying for anonymity. The proprietors of submarkets can help you bid down the going price of anonymity (or bid up the price of information) by having a little bin by the penny bin labelled "leave a loyalty card take a loyalty card". Of course, it might be more profitable to shred left loyalty cards in exchange for on-the-spot discounts off on-the-spot purchases. Depends on whether they see stores their own size as their friends or their competitors, and depends on whether they see their customers as rivals in the information game, as their larger competitors obviously do.
LoriZ, Aug 12 2001

       Baked. We trade cards like this for the "Giant E Advantage Clube" in Pittburgh--- I mean back when I lived in pittsburgh. We'd also fill out applications to get extra cards and cards for ficticious persons. Yeah we we're a bad crew.
futurebird, Aug 12 2001

       nick: if you're buying something you're *that* embarrassed of, what do you do, wear a mask and sunglasses into the store? most safeways don't sell anything more embarassing than condoms or hemorrhoid cream. oh horrors. (unless the safeway down the street from me is uncommonly boring)   

       also: most contracts like that have fine print saying that they're not selling your information. i'd recommend reading it to see. this is usually the case. if not...well, then, don't sign your name and just clip coupons.
Urania, Aug 12 2001

       Always pay in cash.   

       Never shop in the same store regularly.   

       Trust nobody.
-alx, Aug 12 2001

       As per [centauri]'s closing instructions, I am annotating and voting.
bristolz, Apr 19 2002

       I work for a database marketing company that was recently assigned the task of trying to figure out what to do with all the godzillabytes of data that Safeway is collecting...We couldn't think of anything good. So fear not Safeway Club members. Nothing mischievous is in the works yet.   

       p.s. My Safeway Club membership is under a fictitious name. Whenever the clerk says "Thank you Mr. Bouche." I do this in my head "mwahahaaaa".
grasshopper, May 02 2002

       I like it. You got my vote.
Isaac, May 02 2002

       Baked in Boston. We used to swap our Shaws cards all the time. And BTW, it's hardly 50% off a tin of beans once a month: you end up paying, literally, about 30% more for all your groceries if you don't have a card. This is the problem with incentive systems like this: you get enough people to sign up for them and the store just raises its non-member prices until it becomes economically non-viable to hold on to your privacy.
lpicador, Jun 07 2002

       I feel guilty for spending money at all-encompassing ubermarts, so I should make up for this by adding misinformation into the system.   

       Although after my Safeway card was scanned a couple days ago, I became the instant winner of a loaf of french bread. If delicious bread can't buy loyalty, what will?
jnoel, Feb 04 2003

       Take that marketing!
ImBack, Feb 24 2003

       In the pacific northwest, Safeway has a competitor named Winco, they don't mess with cards, coupons, blue lights, etc. you even have to bag and carry your own groceries. Still, their prices are much lower than Safeway, with or without the stupid card. If you really want to send an economic message to those "card stores", Shop elsewhere. maybe they will bag the idea and have competitive pricing.
marymalibu, Feb 24 2003

       Recent research shows that you actually pay *more* at supermarkets with loyalty cards, even when you use your card. As with marymalibu's Winco, you're better off shopping at a store that eschews such gimmicks.
DrCurry, Feb 24 2003

       //you even have to bag and carry your own groceries.//
...just like virtually *every* supermarket in UK!
angel, Feb 25 2003

       To angel: another gimmick is the "bag boy" (person?) many of my friends had thier first jobs bagging groceries and taking them to customers cars. Many elderly patrons will not shop at a store without this service. Of course the prices are higher at those stores.
marymalibu, Feb 26 2003

       [BinaryCookies]: you left out the censored version of the new rap album and the knowledge that you've supported a chain with probably the most scandalously horrible employment practices in the nation.   

       I'm not picking on you; I just *really* hate Walmart!   

       Others: I went to a big chain supermarket (Ralph's, maybe) in Nevada last summer (all right, all right, I went to Burning Man, knock it off) where I signed up for the key thing.   

       We bought food and camping supplies for four people for a week and saved about five bucks compared to the "no key" price. We were not impressed.
snarfyguy, Feb 26 2003

       the phone # (012)345-6789 is valid in most all clubs. if you find one where it isn't. sign up for it! it's ticker of total savings is truely astounding.
johnmeacham, May 01 2003

       If you haven't got any friends (like me) then you can form an effective Safeway Club Club on your own simply by buying lots of stuff that you don't need along with your regular shopping. Thus disguising your real purchasing preferences.
DrBob, May 01 2003

       //Thus disguising your real purchasing preferences.//

Too true! I've been doing this for years, instinctively.
pluterday, May 01 2003

       I thought this idea was an alternative to those flat club cards in an intriguing yet useful new packaging. Oh, and I'm voting neutral - does that break cent's rules?
Worldgineer, May 01 2003

       The conversation has moved away from the big brother phase here, but does anyone have any information on WHICH supermarket chain offered up their customer's selling habits to the gummint in the wake of 9-11? Just went to the feds and said "Here ya go!" Without even being asked. Bought any fertilizer lately?
gearweenie, May 01 2003

       Can I buy soap with it ? (+)
mahatma, May 02 2003

       Re: Amazon and lying with impunity. People need to start holding companies like this accountable. Can you say invasion of privacy/fraudulent gathering of information/etc, etc, etc. CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT.
thecat, May 02 2003

       I acctually have no problem with safeway club besides one which I will mention in a sec..   

       Reason I don't; I use my phone number when I go into safeway for my "club" card (I was hating all the cards I was carrying, so this is good).. Only trick is, try as I might, I _cannot_ get them to take my proper info.. I always come up as "Edward Anderson".   

       Caveat; I hope that guy hasn't won any of my stuff >;)
JackandJohn, May 03 2003

       almost all grocery stores that use this system will "run a card" for you if you've forgotten so my housemates andI just tell them we didn't bring our card and the cashier uses a store number, we still get a discount but don't have to deal with a card, we are however not particularly afraid that by using the card out super market will form a marketing profile of us.
thejaredfanclub, May 04 2003

       Don't get me wrong...more anonymity is something that I'd like to have. But I'd also like the cumulative benefits and occasional freebies associated with holding on to my own card.
dstillz, May 05 2003

       If it helps the store to properly stock the beer coolers then why not?
Zimmy, May 06 2003

       Hear, hear!More beer - and a croissant!
ton80, May 06 2003

       [Zimmy] It also helps them "profile" you. Which is benign of course, that is until your grocery habits are subpoened by the insurance companies to deny you benefits/coverage/reasonable premiums. Or sold to companies who sell it to other companies and so on and so on (with no paper trail) with the same result in the end. Big Business + Big Brother = Big Trouble. And before anyone says this is ludicrous and paranoid just ask yourselves what direction we have been going in.   

       [centauri] you get the croissant when you explain how (no make that modify the idea within the idea box) to keep the privacy but maintain the "cumulative benefits and occasional freebies" someone mentioned that of course we don't get if we maintain our privacy.   

       Right on to the person who talked about it being made economically unviable to maintain our privacy and the person who said that prices go up with loyalty cards. Thumbs down to the person who said shop elsewhere (I second that, but often it isn't possible because of the me too mentality of business making all the "competition" use the same tacky ploys).
thecat, Jun 10 2003

       AHEM... they just want to get the information from you, and if you dont think they share it, your retarded. sure they dont share it with "outside companies" but then that leaves it to be used by "inside" companies whatever the fuck they are. likely other companies within the conglomorate. and what if one of the other companies within the conglomorate is a telemarketing firm? you dodge nothing. whatever, if you have a problem with people tracking your purchases, what do you think your credit card company does? hasta
Aphyllophorales, Jul 11 2003

       I work in a similar field (data warehousing) and it's not so much what are YOU buyng, that they are looking for. It "people who buy product A typically also buy product B" and "people who buy product B also typically buy product C" - Once they have that A,B,C relationship, they then re-arrange their stores to put all the A's and C's next to each other... and then I end up going to the store for wine and come home with D-size batteries :/
DavidCC, Jul 11 2003

       DavidCC - That is only part of it. It goes further ... or will. If you are high enough up, you definitely know that.
thecat, Jul 11 2003

       To be honest I don't even think you need to input any actual phone number once I put my phone number in and it was wrong but that was apparently someone elses phone number who also had a club card, therefore thank you for helpng me but my Cream of Mushroom soup. Just try out random combos, find one that works for you.
PollyNo9, Jul 12 2003

       [UnaB...] And if you don't get it the first time (I didn't) you are probably not the druggie the comment would imply <g>. Not all granola crunchers are wacky brownie aficionados. FYI.
thecat, Jul 12 2003

       PROPOSIAL: I'm looking for Safeway club cards to register on e-scrip, Safeway will donate 2-4% of your purchases to my daughters school. You still get every bonus that they are offering, like 5% savings, etc. But your letting $$$ just go into Safeway's pockets when it could be going to education. Why NOT???
jlink, Aug 18 2003

       Is it wrong to annotate without reading EVERY annotation before me?   

       Oh well, what the hell?   

       The biggest fear I have in selling my info to Safeway is when they sell that info not just to other marketers, but to credit agencies and insurance companies. "Oh he buys frozen pizza and dark beer" and my health insurance costs are adjusted accordingly. It's not paranoia if they're really after you.
raisin, Aug 19 2003

       So go after them!
LoriZ, Aug 21 2003

       Why not just have a better privacy act that allows only too see what people are buying instead of their personal information... Or maybe I'm just wrong.
phaders, Nov 02 2003

       I myself see so-called loyalty cards more as an information asymmetry issue than a privacy issue. I don't worry much about privacy. I'm a very 'public' person.
LoriZ, Nov 10 2003

       I think the cards are a "pain in the !!" But if I can save a "few" dollars I'm all for it!
beadlooms, Nov 10 2003

       Is there really any proof of the collaboration betwixt Safeway and insurance companies? This is interesting. I know that at my place of work we don't have time to do what we are supposed to do in the alloted time... I can just imagine if Safeway kept calling to snitch on me for buying unhealthy foods!
stringstretcher, Nov 10 2003

       Safeway in the UK has a really shit thing where you get 5 pence off a litre of petrol for every 20 quid you spend which is really shit value if you ask me, especially considering my weekly shop costs less than that. Would Safeway Club Club members be entiltled to a better discount? And do you have to be 'invited' to join it, as in a secret society (crooked-finger handshakes and all)?
Mistress Bling, Nov 10 2003

       Anyone think that maybe we're gonna piss off the Tesco and Lidl Club Clubs?
Mistress Bling, Nov 10 2003

       You're right. I see a club club gang war coming.
Worldgineer, Nov 10 2003

       The hardest gangs would come from the inner-city cornershops: beware the Spar Massive and the Londis Kru...
Mistress Bling, Nov 10 2003

       I'm out of here. I see the Albertsons Club Club Gang aproaching with Albertsons Club Club Gang Clubs.
Worldgineer, Nov 10 2003

       oh come one - shirley even if you're into con's-piracy theories you'd think they'd have better information to collect than how often I buy my milk?   

       if you're that concerned then don't join up, and for that matter: make sure you wear your tinfoil hat!
seedy em, Nov 10 2003

       Every posh upper-class club in London has a traditional club tie. Since we can safely consider that the Safeway Club Club is elitist as compared to the Londis Kru (they are a progressive hip-hop collective rival to So Solid Crew), what would its club tie be? Or would the toplessness of Pitt in Fight Club mean we would all have to do similarly in Safeway Club Club meetings as this would make SCC meetings in the Outer Hebrides or Alaska extremely unpractical?
Mistress Bling, Nov 10 2003

       Ok.. so Sharing the data with marketers lets Big Brother keep tabs on you. Its also why I get so much Junk email.   

       Just for reference, I "share" a number with 2 friends when I shop at Vons. I'm sure that messes with the data since there is a married mom with 3 kids, a single mom who lives with her mom, and a sometimes drunk, sometimes granola single chick...   

       So just get one card, and share the number with many diverse friends.
the_coffeegirl, Nov 11 2003

       I had a similar idea, today. Except it was to fake yourself as your 'target' person, and then start buying things one at a time with the loyalty card. Innocuous at first, the items add together to build a very intriguing profile.
Ling, Nov 25 2006

       Simple, amusing and actually possible in the real world.   

       One of the best HalfBakery ideas I have read for some time.
Germanicus, Nov 25 2006

       This is one of the better ones... judging by the originating date it's a "classic".   

       I've been using fake names on my "loyalty" cards for years... or have I?
kdmurray, Nov 25 2006

       I used to like signing up for those things and giving the address and phone number of either the grocery store in question or some other grocery store that does the same thing. Let them deal with each other's garbage.   

       Lately, I just shop elsewhere. They don't need my money.
wyrm, Nov 26 2006

       Why wouldn't you want them to know what you like so they can stock more of what you like?
quantum_flux, Nov 18 2007

       Personal cards aren't really bad. I have several, and benefit from them. Granted, I use fake information (my West 49 card actually says Shadow Phoenix), but that's normal. If they want info, they get info. Personally, I get mistaken for a girl because of my mullet, so that probably throws them off. If you have a problem with buying certain items, hire someone to do it for you. The cashier at Wal-Mart recently thought I was a sex addict after I bought several packs of condoms and 5 pregnancy tests for my friends. If Wal-Mart's information is correct, Kevin Singh is a lucky man. If a real Kevin Singh signs up there, he'll have some explaining to do. Which could be tricky for me in the future.   

       [quantum_flux], everyone is paranoid. They don't want information being tossed around. Plus, they don't want those deals and spam offers messing with their time.
Shadow Phoenix, Nov 18 2007

       I have a safeway card, under the name 'new club member'. The cashier let me off the hook when i signed up.   

       But if I have to give a name for crap like that, "Haywood Jablomi" is my first choice.
afinehowdoyoudo, Nov 19 2007

       At Winn-Dixie, they'll just let you use your phone number. We all give them my mom's, and she gets free stuff every once in a while.
nomocrow, Nov 19 2007

       My second cousin knew a guy who heard about this woman whose father-in-law's aunt had her gorcery store shopping profile audited by the IRS because she was on welfare but she was buying filet mignon and stuff, and she got busted, at least that's what I heard. So that proves you shouldn't give out your real name to anybody, not even your bank or your employer or your fiancee. And tell all those busybody census people to take a hike. That'll really screw up the government's attempt to spy on everybody.   

       <puts on tinfoil hat and begins chanting mantra: The only reason I'm paranoid is that everyone is out to get me. The only reason I'm paranoid is that everyone is out to get me.>   

       Seems to me the title of this idea should be Guerilla Shopping.
Canuck, Nov 19 2007

       Just don't ride with your older cool buddy to burglarize someone's house while they're out of town and let your mom's keys fall out of your pocket onto their couch when you fall asleep watching their TV.   

       Some little pissant ADA may find out who your momma is from the little key fob grocery card, and your momma may just bring you to the police. And then you'll have to roll over on your buddy for burglary of an inhabited dwelling or go to jail for over a year.   

       And this isn't a third-hand story, the pissant ADA was me.   

       Word to the wise: all of that private information you're giving out is generally available to law enforcement agencies with a warrant, and sometimes simply for the asking. Grocery cards, My Space passwords, searches for hot teen corn, all of it. Most places/sites will give any of your information with the crummiest state court or DA warrant.   

       This goes double if you're a kid.
nomocrow, Nov 19 2007


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