a stubborn (er, "principled") stand against CompUSA. I wanted to buy a simple item from them, but the clerk would not complete the transaction unless I supplied personal information. Legal tender was insufficient. I bid her "good day" and walked out of CompUSA for my very last time. I purchased the same item across the street at Best Buy. I gave them money; they gave me the item. So old-fashioned.
Months later, CompUSA declared bankruptcy.
Tonight I tried to buy air at Target. A simple can of compressed air to clean the filter in the LCD projector I use at school. "I need to swipe your ID," the clerk demanded. "Why?" I asked. "Kids get high on the compressed air." "And you can see I'm not a kid; but here, here's my driver's license." I flashed her the ID. "No, I need to swipe it." "If you can't see than I'm not a kid looking to get high, I'm afraid I won't be able to do business with you. So why don't you go ahead and keep all these items?" I had some other stuff to buy, but nothing was such a crisis that I needed it at that moment.
I'm not a fan of surrendering more than money in exchange for goods at stores. I have no idea what they do or don't do with swiped driver's license data. But I do hear about identity thefts involving crooks who abscond with hard drives/data collected by merchants.
The merchants always apologize profusely for letting someone steal your personal information. But there are never legal/monetary consequences for them. So they don't feel compelled to protect the data as best they could.
If I decide to stay away from Target, I'm pretty sure they'll be OK without me. And if I can't buy air anywhere else without an ident card swipe, I'll be back to Target in no time. Otherwise, I simply can't do business with a merchant as paranoid as they are are stupid: a dumb nannystore.
A quick local news story on the swipe. Warning: it's a local news story...
But my immediate concern? How am I gonna get my buzz on without a can of air?