Saturday, February 25, 2012

How much do retailers know about us?

In this case, Target knew a high school girl was pregant before her father knew:

"About a year after Pole created his pregnancy-prediction model, a man walked into a Target outside Minneapolis and demanded to see the manager. He was clutching coupons that had been sent to his daughter, and he was angry, according to an employee who participated in the conversation.

'My daughter got this in the mail!' he said. 'She’s still in high school, and you’re sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant?'

The manager didn’t have any idea what the man was talking about. He looked at the mailer. Sure enough, it was addressed to the man’s daughter and contained advertisements for maternity clothing, nursery furniture and pictures of smiling infants. The manager apologized and then called a few days later to apologize again.

On the phone, though, the father was somewhat abashed. 'I had a talk with my daughter,' he said. 'It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of. She’s due in August. I owe you an apology.'"

itemprop="articleBody">I'm not sure what's most concerning: that we're all so predictable, that we get into habits that are so ingrained that we are completely unaware of them, that new habits (and generally ones that aren't great for us) are very easy for us to form when we start them as a result of a marketing outreach, or that retailers -- and everyone else-- knows more about us than we seem to know about ourselves!

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