Radio Shack "Birthday Discount", Big Brother, and Y2K : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I got a Birthday Card in the mail today from Radio Shack. I was glad to see a 10% discount coupon enclosed, but quite peeved that they feel they know me well enough to send me birthday greetings. What is puzzling is that whenever I am in that place and they ask for my address and telephone number, I always say no or give them a phony one (I know Diane - I have no trust :) ). This means they must have "data mined" my date of birth through my credit card info. Or maybe they obtained it from ImageData, the company now embroiled in controversy surrounding the Secret Service subsidized purchase of state DMV photos and other personal info.

The Y2K tie in is that printed on the coupon there are some cryptic instructions for the merchant:

POS: Scan items, press  payment. Select  options, then #2 for "Ticket Disc." 
Select "15" for "Other" and enter "10" for discount percentage. Enter "YBD499" when 
prompted for reason.  ACR: Svcan items, press "Total", then select the blue discount 
button. Select #4 "Other Disc", then enter 10% "10.0" and "YDB499" for comment....

Overly complex systems like this are going to be the first ones to crap the bed. Big Brother will have hell to pay post-y2k. Maybe there's a silver lining to this thing yet.

-- what (happened@to.privacy?), April 02, 1999


Not an answer, but a related question.

I don't have a Pentium III. How does know its me as soon as I enter?

-- dave (, April 02, 1999.


You accept cookies and they sent you one.

-- Flint (, April 02, 1999.

Amazon knows it's you, 'cuz system information is supplied to it on request by Netscape or Explorer. These are call "cookies". You can stop them if you want.

I'm purchasing a program called "Watchdog" (I think that's the name) that will alert me anytime my personal info is about to be transmitted.


-- Jollypre (, April 02, 1999.

I complained vehemently to Amazon about this. They collect your name under a secure link and then broadcast it back to you under an unsecured link the next time you go back. IMO, anything passed under a secure link should ALWAYS remain confidential. They think it's "customer-friendly". I think it's an unforgivable breach of client trust. I don't buy anything there anymore.

As for Radio Shack - they're insane. The eventual future of retailing is probably a complete rectal exam with each purchase.

-- Betrayed (, April 02, 1999.

I used to get really mad at Radio Shack too....because of all the info they wanted....and then I realized that someone who knew what they were doing could probably buy everything then needed to build an e*plosi*e. Now, I figure its the same as at the airport....going thru the metal detector, etc. Sad but true signs of the times. Average citizens do not have any privacy at all any more. The only defense is to be so very average that nobody notices you.


-- Mary P. (, April 02, 1999.

you can always tell them no thankyou - also if you pay cash and they start asking questions hand them whatever you're buying and ask for your money back...that usually cans the questions in fairly rapid order.


-- Arlin H. Adams (, April 03, 1999.

The name of the program is Guard Dog by Cybermedia. Best Buy, etc.

When you get it, you must configure it. This is important!! The default on cookies is to say Accept Cookies from sites you visit directly, but prompt on sites indirectly visited. You can reject all cookies, or be prompted to decide. I want to always be prompted so I can see just who is trying to install a cookie. Trust me!! You will be very surprised!! After say every other session, I use the Checkup feature to track down ACTIVE-X (found one tonight!) and other security problems. BTW, get the most recent one, with the trademark spike collar(the one with a bulldog is an earlier version).

Caution! GD does a very good job of protecting files-too good!! I recommend UNINSTALLING GD before adding any new software as it will interpret insallation as a hostile attack. It prompts you but as it stops the installation momentarily, it sometomes really inteferes. Just uninstall, install your new software, and remember to reinstall Guarddog.

Overall, I rate GD as excellent and would not surf the Web without it. I am told that Norton offers protection software like it, but I am unfamiliar with it. If you have questions withrespect to GD, post a question on this bb to Lurker123.

I hope this helps.

-- A. Lurker (, April 03, 1999.

What every Web site knows about you...

-- Kevin (, April 03, 1999.


This is a reason why it's good to NOT use the email package built into one's browser. I use Netscape but not Netscape mail, this way I don't have to plug in all that personal information into Netscape preferences, where it can sometimes be detected. The querying website will pick up who my ISP is but not my name or email address. I am not sure how much info can actually be gotten, but all I have in there is

(Just putting out some general information.)

-- Debbie (, April 03, 1999.

Just a little post-script on Radio Shack... Last fall I was doing some early Christmas shopping there and paid for my purchase with a Visa Card with a 2000 expiration date. Their computer kicked it out and the charge had to be manually entered. LOL! I found it funny that a business that deals in high tech electronics had a cash register that was non compliant!

-- just sunshine (, April 03, 1999.

As for Radio Shack - they're insane. The eventual future of retailing is probably a complete rectal exam with each purchase.

I can think of several people who would really like that. I can think of several others who would like to watch. They'll have to institute a "minimum purchase" policy to keep these guys from comming in 3 times a day to buy a packet of banana plugs.

-- foo (, April 03, 1999.

Dear "What Happened": Ever hear of cash? Granted sometimes it is very inconvenient to NOT use a credit card, but what can you buy in person at Radio Shack that requires more than a couple hundred $ of cash? You shouldn't be getting something for that small amount of money on credit because you don't have the cash OR for convenience. At least get a cash advance at the ATM and use that. Get a clue, folks.

-- A (, April 03, 1999.

Dear A - "Ever hear of cash" Yes, but they STILL press you for all your personal data, even when you are paying cash for a $3.00 lithium battery.

I tell them "I'm already on your mailing list" and if they press further I cancel the sale. Usually works.

-- Debbie (, April 03, 1999.

I try not to use Radio Shack, but I always pay cash, and when they ask for my name, I say "I don't give out personal info"... Hasn't failed yet. If they persisted, I'd say "ok, I'll give you my personal info (made up)if you'll tell me your name and where you live.... " :)

Gotta use cash if you want to remain anonymous and off lists.

-- Bill (, April 03, 1999.

I once walked out of a Radio Shack with cash in hand, leaving the small item on the counter. The clerk insisted that he had to have my address and phone number. I was angry and had to go somewhere else to buy the item. I know companies can get my personal info, but I'm not about to make it that easy for them.

-- Pearlie Sweetcake (, April 03, 1999.

I got one of the birthday cards with a 10% off coupon, too. :-)

-- Gayla Dunbar (, April 03, 1999.


Good idea saying "I'll give you my personal info (made up)if you'll tell me your name and where you live....

(Some people have also used what is called a "public servant questionnaire" when dealing with public officials which asks them the same types of questions they ask you.)

Anyway, back to Radio Shack, you can just give them fake info if they insist. Maybe fun to use the name of a local politcal weasel.

BTW, I even got one of those "Von's club" so-called savings cards (used for when they mark up the groceries 20% as the "regular" price, then you got to use the card to get a 20% "discount"). I had to try a couple of different clerks, but I got the card with a made up name without showing ID. But, if I wanted to have the card to include check cashing also, I would have had to show ID to get the card.

-- A (, April 05, 1999.

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