Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Big Brother and Other Depressing Things

My hair person (stylist sounds pretentious, dresser sounds old-timey, and other proper terminology escapes me) recently had a baby, so in a fit of I can't take this anymore and my hair is gross I stopped by my local Great Clips for a trim. The lady asked for my name, phone number, how I learned about the salon, and then for my address. I asked (in my nicest exasperated tone) "do you really have to have my address to cut a half inch of my hair?" I'm tired of this. I'm not giving Great Clips or all of the stores that ask for my phone number what they want (I think the cashiers just put in fake numbers instead).

Kroger already tracks my purchases by refusing to give me the sales price without my stupid Kroger Plus card (however I fooled them and didn't complete the form). The Big Brother at Gmail scans my e-mails to tailor make the ads on the side of the screen (it took my friends and me about 3 weeks to finally notice that all of the ads were about skiing and snowboarding despite the fact that it was June; then we realized we'd been talking about a trip to Colorado). Of course, every company needs my social security number to do business with me, and I just wonder if there's some company somewhere that has all of this information about me compiled--which movies I rent, who I talk to on my cellphone, how many hours I waste on Facebook, which medications I take, and so on. Could you imagine how valuable this information is to advertisers and companies?

And now I'm looking for health insurance. It feels intentionally confusing. I'm an attorney, and these policies are difficult for me to fully understand. It is no wonder people are under-insured. If you don't read the massive amount of small print, you don't realize that a litany of things are not covered (that you would expect to be covered) and that there are so many exceptions to coverage, including changes in percentage of coverage based on the medical issue and so forth. Given what I've looked at over the past few days, it's easy to see how medical expenses bankrupt families who have health insurance. I feel so blessed to have so few health issues--and to simply be insurable.

p.s. I'm grateful that tomorrow is the first day this week that I'll have to wake up before 9:00. Rolling out of bed and into "the office" is nice.

12 comments:

Aaron said...

I tried to get by with refusing to give my SSN and what-not, but I quickly learned that flew less than half the time and it was really more hassle than it was worth. Refusing to give out such information rewarded me with more folks thinking I was trying to scam someone's identity rather than protect my own.

Ally said...

Aaron: I can imagine. Years ago I tried writing "see ID" on my credit cards, so that cashiers would request to see my license; but then I had a retailer refuse to accept my unsigned card.

Scotty said...

Did you know you can enter (any area code) 867-5309 at any grocery store for their reward programs... and it works?

I have yet to find an area code that doesn't work.

Every time I go to the grocery store I use a different area code, only to be amused by what name the person used for that number.

Lib said...

way to cop and attitude at Great Clips :)

I've decided to ban facebook from my life for a while because i, too, waste entirely too much time on there.

and, yes, i am discovering the nasty world of "insurance," now that chris and i are "civilians" this year and are no longer covered by the military. i'm realizing how good we had it with the free health care in the military. i could get unlimited prescriptions filled for EXPENSIVE drugs like Zofran (an anti nausea drug KEY for pregnancy!...$300 for 15 pills) all for NO COST. this isn't the case anymore. now we have a $5000 deductible!!! welcome to the real world i guess.

i hate marketers and advertisers and their uncanny ability to make you think you need something that you don't! i'm SO easily sucked in.

Jenn said...

I wonder how we're supposed to protect ourselves from identity theft when the world keeps asking for SSN's all the time. Makes no sense to me.

Good luck with health-insurance too. Finding good coverage at a reasonable price is virtually impossible.

ella said...

Can you piggy back on your firms health insurance and just pay the premiums? We have Healthnet here and it's pretty reasonable.

icadle said...

I bet they didn't give you a good haircut because you coped a 'tude!

And I haven't even noticed the ads on gmail...interesting. Being a tad oblivious isn't always such a bad thing...

Ally said...

Ella: I could use the firm's insurance (and pay my premium), but the premium would be higher than what I could obtain on my own.

bMoles said...

Reading both this blog and the comments as both a retail salesman and a marketing major, I have to take everything with a grain of salt. We ask for name, phone number, and address with every sale we make for warranty purposes. We have several customers that complain about it, but they get over it. Our credit card machine also requires an address so they can verify it upon charging the card.

As far as marketers and advertisers making people want something they don't need, they're just doing their job (and obviously they're doing it well if you begin to want things you don't need).

Longest. blog. comment. ever.

Still just me said...

What I don't understand is why the school district wants my child's SS#? Not only do they ask for her's, but all other children in the home.

I refuse to give it to them, and so far, no one has given me any hassle over it.

TC said...

All of these annoy me as well. And we wonder why we have Identity theft issues here in the states when countries in Europe don't have them? (Well, rarely anyway.)

Sara Jane said...

I hate the stupid cards that every retailer uses to track your purchases...the drug store, grocery, hallmark. I refuse to use them, and when the cashier won't scan a card, I just ask the person behind me!