How do they do it?
It’s almost scary the things they can do. Oh, they’re good all right. That’s why they call them “they.”
It started several weeks back with a call from my grocery store. I thought my prescription was ready. The fact that I couldn’t remember turning in a prescription failed to surprise me. So many pills, so little time.
Turns out the call had nothing to do with a prescription. They never call just to chat, so my interest was piqued. (Weird word “piqued.”)
The automated voice on the phone said, “Don’t eat the popcorn. It’s poison.” Didn’t use those exact words, but that’s what I heard.
I don’t get all that many contaminated corn calls, so you can see where I was a bit concerned. The mechanical voice told me not to eat the popcorn, and to return it to the store for a refund.
Return what? I bought the stuff a week before. It was gone. Eaten. I don’t store popcorn at the house. You don’t ever have to ask if I’ve got any pre-popped corn. Even if I did, I wouldn’t share.
The voice gave no advice about what to do if I had eaten the stuff. If I hadn’t eaten it, I get my money back. If I had… well, I was an idiot for buying the stuff.
While I was pleased as punch about the store computer warning me about the corrupt corn, I was really impressed at the fact that “they” not only knew what I bought, but they knew how to find me.
It’s the “rewards” card. They’re all over the place. If you get a special card with your life story on it, the store gives you a special deal on some of your purchases. Practically everyone is doing it. Even my masseur. (Don’t dwell.)
I went to my drug store about a month ago to take advantage of a sale on nuts. It’s my favorite drug store ‘cause they don’t make me have a card, and ‘cause they have nut sales. I thought I already said that.
Before ringing up the purchase, the cashier lady asked for my card. I screamed, “Noooooo! Not you, too!” I told her that I didn’t like cards.
The lady said, “Oh, yeah? How do you like paying full price for cashews?” She said it in a way that I could tell she had a sense of humor. We were kindred spirits. Just a few seconds later I had my cheap nuts and a new drugstore card.
So, there’s another place that knows all about me and keeps a list of my purchases. Any day now they’ll call and tell me about a bad can of candied nuts. More likely, they’ll tell me not to use the off-brand hemmerroidal cream.
Hey, I don’t buy embarrassing creams for future use. I’ve been known to use some medications right there in the store. – “Sir, please-- Whoa! Here, let me do your other foot.” -- My next purchase at my drugstore will likely include a coupon for fungal cream.
I saw one of those futuristic Sci-fi cop movies a few years back that I considered pure fantasy. It showed a busy city street with holographic images all over the place. As each pedestrian passed by a screen or an image, a voice would greet them BY NAME, and entice them with products they might be prone to buy.
We’re close to that. Last time I drove through one of the EZ tag areas of the toll road, I mentioned to Kay about the technology involved in what just transpired. While we were traveling 60 plus mph, a laser managed to scan a bar code through our windshield. The info was transported to a tower that sent it to a satellite where it was bounced off a few other satellites before ending up in the netherworld for processing.
Quicker than I could blink, my identity was recognized, the time was recorded and my credit card account was lessened by $1.75. Kay said, “So what’s your point?”
My point is -- How do “they” do that? And, if “they” can do that, what will “they” be able to do by the end of the next decade? Is this a time to gloriously embrace the wonderment of technology, or is it a time to buy some automatic weaponry and move to Alaska?
Take a few minutes to ponder that. As for me and my house, we’re staying put. Alaska has too few nut sales. – Hey, what say we lighten up a bit for 2013?
You can view Mark and Brad’s latest restaurant review of McAllister's Deli, by clicking on pic below.