Chapell & Associates

Monday, October 17, 2005

Why do you need my address - I'm only buying a hammer?

I spoke with my dad earlier today... A few days ago, he decided that they needed a new work bench for the garage. So he and mom went down to their local Sears, and picked out a shiny new workbench. Sounds like a nice lil story, right?

Well... when they got to the checkout, the clerk asked them for their their home address and telephone number. "Why?" Apparently, the clerk had no idea. So my dad refused to provide his information, saying "I really have no interest in being contacted by Sears."

But the clerk politely pushed back, saying "the only thing I can tell you, sir, is that the computer won't process your order unless I have that information."

So my dad reluctantly provided his home address and telephone number, and was able to take home his new toy...

I realize that many of you have heard this story before. This type of data collection was originally popularized by Radio Shack, and has been a theme in countless stories over the past few years.

But that's really my point - given all the evidence that customers often don't want to provide their personal information at the check-out line, why in the world is Sears still collecting it? I don't even take issue with their collecting the information per se - but WHY is it mandatory? How many long-time Sears customers won't come back after that kind of experience? Where is consumer choice? Where is the employee privacy training?

A few years ago, Sears launched their CRM program. I'd like to see them incorporate a privacy component into that program...

On a positive note - at least my mom now has an idea of what I do for a living... (:
posted by Anonymous on Monday, October 17, 2005

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