Target Figures Out Teen Girl Is Pregnant Before Her Father Does, Sends Helpful Coupons

We didn’t really believe it when we were told in 7th grade that math could unlock the secrets of the universe, but after reading about the coupon-wielding power of a Target statistician, which resulted in a mighty surprise for one father of a teenage girl, we might be converts. Doesn’t make math any better though.

The New York Times (via Forbes) had some time chatting with Target’s statistician royale, Andrew, before he was told to zip his lips by the company. He discussed how retailers figure out how to sort out your purchases — from what you need, what you will use a coupon for and your personal preferences. Oh yeah, and they can decode if you’re pregnant even before you buy diapers.

In Target’s case, it all comes down to your Guest ID number tied your credit card, name, and other info, which saves all kinds of data about what you buy. Statistician Andrew mined that data and saw patterns in it, for example — women on baby registries buy larger amounts of unscented lotion around the beginning of their second trimester. Bam! Send’em some coupons for other baby items. More Andrew magic!:

As [his] computers crawled through the data, he was able to identify about 25 products that, when analyzed together, allowed him to assign each shopper a “pregnancy prediction” score. More important, he could also estimate her due date to within a small window, so Target could send coupons timed to very specific stages of her pregnancy.

Freaky! Those scores lead Target to send coupons for baby items to their customers with certain pregnancy scores. One unsuspecting and angry father even stormed into a Target to yell at them for sending his daughter coupons for baby clothes and cribs. Turns out, she was pregnant, and hadn’t told her father yet. Awkward. He apologized to Target.

Soon enough, Target learned they shouldn’t creep people out by knowing too much about them, so they switched up their coupon booklets. That means an ad of a lawn mower next to a crib, or a set of plates alongside baby clothes. Sneak attack, and no one can yell at you for being pregnant.

*Thanks to Beth for the link!

How Companies Learn Your Secrets [Chicago Tribune]

Comments

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  1. You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

    I got those Target baby coupons after using my credit card to buy a stroller and other baby items for my sister-in-law. I also passed the coupons along to her!

  2. Don't Bother says:

    “One unsuspecting and angry father even stormed into a Target to yell at them for sending his daughter coupons for baby clothes and cribs.”

    Yeah, how dare they send them coupons!!!

    (Yes, I know junk mail is irritating… but c’mon people…)

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I think a lot of people don’t appreciate having their personal lives monitored.

      • Don't Bother says:

        I understand that, but he really didn’t know what they were doing that at the time (or at least that’s how I understand it). I’m more commenting of the fact that he made a special trip to Target to complain about coupons.

        • u1itn0w2day says:

          I think it’s Rite-Aid & CVS that require a card for just about every sale item in their flyer and the prices aren’t even that great. These two provide as much as a medical privacy threat as anyone out there.

          Medical privacy has already been breached by saved/sold shopping data for around a decade now.

          http://www.informationweek.com/news/47208410

      • chefboyardee says:

        Then don’t get one of those savings tags linked to your name and address, and pay cash.

        If you have a store card, and use a credit card, you can pretty much assume you’re tracked nowadays. Is it morally right? Questionable. Do I like it? No. Is it happening? Definitely.

        If your privacy is that important, always pay cash and don’t sign up for store “savings clubs”. Have the person at the register, or the person in line, scan theirs instead. They will, 90+% of the time, and if they won’t, leave the purchases on the belt and say “nevermind” and walk away.

        • elangomatt says:

          I don’t know if they are enforcing the rule or not, but a few months ago at the local Jewel store they had signs up saying that you had to have a card (or card connected to your phone number) to get the sale prices. Cashiers were supposedly going to be unable to use a generic card anymore. I think that’s a load of crap since you can’t get any sale prices without their stupid preferred card.

        • TerpBE says:

          Or just sign up for the savings club card using a fake name and address. Somewhere there is a guy naked “Dick Poopipantz” who is getting my father-to-be coupons.

      • CubeRat says:

        Use cash. I don’t, because my purchases at Target/Ralph’s/Macy’s do not bother me if they were broadcast to the world.

        Unless you use one of those ‘customer loyalty cards’, if you use cash for purchases no one can gather data about your purchases.

      • jebarringer says:

        Then don’t leave your home, and don’t interact with the public in any way.

    • RxDude says:

      The coupons/junk mail aren’t the issue. The issue is the privacy-invading data mining.

      • Don't Bother says:

        From the FA:

        “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?”

        He didn’t know what they were doing. He just got mad because he got coupons in the mail.

      • Pooterfish says:

        Not sure how this is privacy-invading. The store shouldn’t pay attention to what its customers are purchasing? If you want privacy, use cash — or at least, don’t use a loyalty card.

        The basis for a loyalty card is an arrangement in which you sell your purchase data to the company in exchange for discounts. If you don’t like that deal, don’t use the card.

        • BfloAnonChick says:

          Target doesn’t issue a loyalty card. They’re tying your purchases to the billing address on your credit/debit card.

          • DogiiKurugaa says:

            Technically their credit/debit card is a loyalty card because you get 5% off when you use their card instead of any of your other credit/debit cards to pay.

            • Astranger says:

              but the article specifically said that they tie the data to the credit card – no necessarily just the target branded credit card.

              • GadgetsAlwaysFit says:

                Correct. If you lost your receipt and you used a credit card, any credit card to make the purchase, they will scan the credit card to retrieve when you bought it and what you paid for it.

            • ridgesidebeauty says:

              I can verify that this is NOT tied to THEIR credit card, and has nothing to do with a loyalty card. I realized this about 3-4 years ago. I had to run into Target on a few occasions just for one or two items, and I got coupons for things that were nowhere near related to my purchases. Buying gift wrap and floor cleaner, and getting coupons for cat litter. I do have two cats, and had bought plenty of cat litter at Target on. I had made all of my purchases on a credit card I have had for about 10 years now, not a Target account credit card.

              I actually sent an email to Target at the time asking if they kept records on shopping habits, and in particular what they used as identifying information, such as… my credit card number. They denied that they were doing any such thing.

        • kc2idf says:

          “Not sure how this is privacy-invading.”

          How ’bout: they tipped off a father to the fact that his daughter was pregnant before she was ready to tell him? I’d say that’s a pretty big one right there.

          Now, I know there will be those out there who will take me to task for defending the privacy of a 7th grader from her father. Tough. Clearly she didn’t feel ready to trust her father with this information, which maybe points to a poor father-daughter relationship, so I will tell you, preëmptively, to suck it up. We don’t know what kind of relationship he has with his daughter, and wouldn’t it just suck if it turned out to be abusive and lead to a beating? Yeah, thought so.

          Now for further preëmptive measure, keep in mind that even though my scenario describes the minority of cases (or at least, I hope it does), unless our crack statistician can figure out a definitive yes/no on abusive father/daughter relationships, he needs to keep this from happening.

          • rmorin says:

            You missed important parts of the story. Target didn’t tell him she was pregnant, they sent pregnancy-centric offers to her. The father went in to complain that Target is sending her the wrong offers. Once he got there I can promise you Target did not state “We sent those because she is pregnant”. Then when he found out she was actually pregnant the father apologized for complaining.

            The fact that he apologized when he found out she was actually pregnant shows that Target DID NOT out her, because he was going into the store thinking Target was making a mistake.

            • kc2idf says:

              Well, maybe, okay, in this specific case. There do exist, however, parents and guardians who would not have concluded that it was an error on Target’s part. In particular, someone very near and dear to me had an evil stepfather who would have taken any excuse to beat the tar out of any child living under his roof.

              Although this person near and dear to me is now a fully grown adult, this truly evil individual has left her and her siblings scarred for life.

        • regis-s says:

          I think most people would understand sending someone coupons for gardening tools or supplies because they bought a lawnmower. It’s a different matter when they start combining purchases to guess that someone might be pregnant.

          What’s next? People that make a particular combination of purchases are usually dealing with a terminal illness. Let’s start sending them brochures for burial plots and funeral services?

    • Rachacha says:

      My eight year old daughter gets mailings all the time for Victoria’s Secret, including coupons for free thongs. Still not sure how she ended up on that list.

    • JennQPublic says:

      They should have mined the data sooner, realized there was a teenager in the house, and started sending coupons for condoms.

  3. Cosmo_Kramer says:

    I don’t feel like reading 10 pages of the original article to figure this out – is the title of this article a hypothetical situation, or something that actually happened? Because it’s written as if it’s something that actually happened.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I get obtuse on Fridays sometimes, too.

    • You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

      I clicked through to page 7. It happened to real people.

    • Phil Villakeepinitrreal says:

      If you read the small handful of paragraphs here, you would already know the answer.

    • IGetsAnOpinion says:

      You only needed to read to the 5th paragraph of THIS page:

      One unsuspecting and angry father even stormed into a Target to yell at them for sending his daughter coupons for baby clothes and cribs. Turns out, she was pregnant, and hadn’t told her father yet. Awkward. He apologized to Target.

  4. Guppy06 says:

    Hooray for cash!

  5. ericpaul2 says:

    Here’s a little more thought on the insensitivtiy caused by the coupon machine…how about miscarriages? Once you’re on the list, they don’t appear to have a signal to stop. Nothing like getting milestone appropriate coupons to remind a couple of their loss for the next two years.

    • Snoofin says:

      IF you have a miscarriage, then make another baby, its really easy to do and actually quite fun, then save the coupons for when you have the baby.

      • Jules Noctambule says:

        Even if you were trying to be funny, that’s amazingly insensitive and borderline ridiculous. Also, it isn’t funny either.

        • iblamehistory says:

          Agreed, “just make another” is absolutely an disgusting thing to say. To parents, there is no difference between losing a pregnancy and losing a 3 year old or a 30 year old child. Kid dies? Oh, just make another, that one will reach the same age eventually and you can just start where you left off!

          I’d be banned if I said what I really wanted to say right now.

      • JennQPublic says:

        For a lot of women, especially those who’ve had miscarriages, it’s not that easy. On top of that, she feels as if she’s lost her child, but no one else sees it that way, because generally only the parents see it as a real person before it’s even born. So the sympathy for her is short-lived, before everyone expects her to just get over it.

        I’ve seen women go through this, and it’s heartbreaking. I can easily see how getting a set of baby-geared coupons on a bad day could be incredibly painful. It would be one thing if she was on their registry, but having a business invade your personal life like this when you never gave them leave to is creepy, to say the least.

      • kennedar says:

        Not that easy. We lost our first pregnancy after someone in some giant marketting company had figured out we were pregnant. For the following 2 years that we struggled with infertility we got coupons and samples in the mail every few weeks. On our estimated due date, which was already a difficult day for me, there was both a bottle of formula and a diaper in our mailbox. My husband was able to toss most of the stuff before I saw it, but I picked up the mail that day. I will never, as long as I live, use Enfamil or Pampers because of this and have called both companies to tell them as much.

        Being reminded weekly of how old your child should have been and the fact that you are not capable of getting pregnant again was devastating. These marketting geniuses need to realize that 1/4 of all pregnancies end in miscarriage and sending out “helpful” coupons to parents grieving a miscarriage is a great way to get on their bad list.

      • TeriLynn says:

        Well, that’s the most callous thing I’ve heard all day. Congratulations!

    • kella says:

      My mother had 3 miscarriages in fairly short period when I was in my teens. It gave her horrible depression and more than her share of medical problems. I always made sure to go through the mail and throw out anything baby-related, it took years before they finally stopped. If my mother saw any of it she would start crying, it was awful. The worst was definitely the “Congratulations on your newborn!” letters.

      Perhaps there should be limits on advertising that pertains to a medical condition (including pregnancy, depression, diabetes, E.D., etc.).

  6. elangomatt says:

    I would be more freaked out by the situation if wasn’t for the fact that I have assumed for years that there is some statistician doing this exact thing at every major store headquarters. What do you think all of those shopper cards are for? Target just happens to have a good enough system where they can still track you even though you don’t have to carry around yet another card. This just confirms that Target has some smart people working for them.

    As a programmer, I’d love to see the logic behind their system to see what purchases spawn coupons for items that I’ve never bought but would be interested in buying (thanks to seeing it on the coupon).

    • ducktownhusker says:

      “Target has some smart people working for them.”

      Well they sure ain’t working at WalMart. I guess they gotta go somewhere.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        Actually, I believe Walmart was a pioneer in the usage of OCD-level data mining for retail inventory and marketing purposes. Target was a latecomer to this game.

    • Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

      I loved declining the shoppers cards at first. The look on the clerk’s face when I told them I don’t want someone at corporate tracking when my wife has yeast infections was great.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        Not only are those rewards or membership cards not that great for discounts(if you shop you can beat those card prices) but the primary purpose for those card/most retailers is marketing. You wouldn’t believe the smoes that fall for the you can save 5 percent today or we’ll give you a bottle of soda. How much IS your privacy worth. Do NOT hand marketers your personal information on a silver platter, make them work for it.

        Ask to see the fine print on those reward and discount programs & cards. Ask the employee Is my information going to be sold, given away or used to send me junk mail/spam. If they say no have them point it out to you in the contract.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          i’m glad my local grocery store doesn’t send me targeted email or coupons, and the ones that print on my receipt are usually very wrong – but the 10 cents off a gallon at certain brands of gas station when i swipe my grocery store card has made me much happier lately

        • Engine-B says:

          You are under the common misconception that the store actually cares about YOU. You are just a number to them, not u1itn0w2day. There is no person at corporate HQ looking at each person individually. The store has a computer that runs some algorithms to send some coupons to an address that is associated with the card, that’s it.

        • joako says:

          That’s why I get new ones and give them fake info. I used to input 555-1212 at winn dixie for the longest time, until it stopped working. Every time I go to CVS they give me a new card.

    • mischlep says:

      There was an IBM commercial a while back that depicted what looked like two stockers discussing some strange items that the store stocked.

      “Tiny crackers? Who buys these?!?!”

      A voice comes over the loudspeaker and says something along the lines of “The people who buy those tiny crackers also buy X. And do you know what our profit margin is on X? It’s HUGE!”

    • dootsie says:

      I don’t mind participating in a members’ rewards scheme. I get personalized coupons from my grocery store for items that I’ve recently purchased. I also get free items from the store’s own brand, so yay!
      It’s just disquieting when I haven’t really opted into anything like that.
      At the same time, I DO tick that “terms and conditions” box without even thinking. And I bet its in there.

    • dg says:

      Those ‘loyalty cards’ or ‘member cards’ are all scams. First off, it’s been well-documented that prices have a tendency to go UP prior to the introduction of the cards at a store. Then when the Store introduces the cards, they claim the prices go down with the use of the card – but it’s actually just to the level it was BEFORE they raised the prices! So there’s no discount.
      The data is used to track what you purchase so they can sell the data to marketers on both sides of the aisle – those mfr’s of items you DO use, and those mfr’s of items you DON’T use. The store makes money from BOTH sides of the aisle, and you effectively get nothing even remotely close to the amount of money they’ve taken in from those mfr’s.
      The data is regularly subpoenaed and used in lawsuits. Two examples: 1) Divorce – guy’s wife’s lawyer gets records from his loyalty cards – discovers he’s at Store X on particular days of the week, buys booze, condoms, flowers. Store X is close to the girlfriend’s house. Tie in the Ez-Pass tollway transponder records for extra bonus points. 2) Slip/Fall defense – guy slips and falls in store. Store uses the loyalty records to demonstrate that injured party regularly purchased quantities of alcohol, and claim he could have been intoxicated and that’s why he slipped/fell.
      Want more information – Visit the CASPIAN site at http://www.nocards.org

  7. speaky2k says:

    Thankfully I only use credit cards for larger purchases. When I typically shop at Target I’m only spending $10-40 which to me is cash use. Above $50 is where I start using credit cards so I guess that’s why I don’t get any coupons.

  8. maxamus2 says:

    Yeah, I don’t want my daughter to learn about sex/pregnancy from some stupid retailer. Leave that up to TV and movies.

    • Costner says:

      Seems like the daughter already figured it out on her own… thus the coupons from Target.

      Now had they sent her coupons for condoms several months earlier maybe it wouldn’t have been an issue.

      • mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

        Ahh, but the revenue stream from increased condoms sales is peanuts compared to what’s generated from diapers, baby wipes, bottles, formula, cribs, car seats, strollers, baby monitors, etc.. And in turn, they can expect about another 70 years of sales for/to this new consumer.

        Coupons for condoms thus might only be generated if the consumer is already purchasing them, or if their pharmacy records or other data suggest they have an STD.

  9. u1itn0w2day says:

    I’m still unclear how this 7th grader was tagged to the point she got coupons in the mail. How is a 7th grader even allowed to use a credit card even if the parents or get some kind of reward card.

    WARNING! Anytime you buy something with YOUR name attached YOUR information will be sold, given away and/or analyzed like a tagged shark on the Discovery Channel.

    I don’t know if it works but I always print NO SOLICITATIONS or information not to be sold or given away below my signature.

    • selianth says:

      The daughter was in high school (from the original articles), not in 7th grade. Maybe she uses a debit card attached to her own checking account? Maybe she was ordering stuff online with her parents permission? I can see it.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        My bad. Thanks I had to go to page 7 to find that out. She’s still probably a minor. The article talks about things like cookies. With the right kind of cookies I guess it’s not hard.

        This is why you never login before you buy something. Never get at an “account” at a store’s website, never. And always log off and delete cookies before going to the next website. Go back to home page.

    • Hoss says:

      Could be her sugar daddy gave her a card.

    • elangomatt says:

      I think that either the father put the daughter on his credit card account (with her own card) or more likely the father actually purchased the items for the daughter over a period of time. It sounds like the items that have to be purchased to get the coupons aren’t obvious “you’re pregnant” items, but instead they are things that many expecting mothers do buy. I suspect also that the father was a bit clueless as well and never considered the possibility that his perfect angel was even in a position to get pregnant (uhhh… no pun intended).

  10. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    The only people who need privacy online are terrorists and criminals with something to hide. If you are not a terrorist or criminal you have nothing to hide, so you don’t need privacy.

    /s

  11. Straspey says:

    The NY Times article is lengthy and *very* revealing about the scientific methods and to what depths companies will go to make you a lifetime customer.

    Also – regarding that father who had to apologize to Target —

    The article is scheduled for publication in this coming Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, but was posted yesterday on their website. The Times accepts readers’ comments for many of their articles and there are already over 250 at this point.

    One of the comments is from a man who’s wife had a miscarriage and lost the baby – yet for more than a year afterwards, they kept receiving coupons and special offers for the “New Mother” and “Bundle Of Joy”. The poor ended up running out to the mailbox every day to remove all those targeted mailings in an effort to spare his wife more pain and anguish during the grieving process.

    For many people here who think they have “outsmarted” the marketing people – this article will be a real eye-opener.

    “Hey, You’re Having A baby ! — How Companies Learn Your Secrets”

    “Andrew Pole had just started working as a statistician for Target in 2002, when two colleagues from the marketing department stopped by his desk to ask an odd question: ‚ÄúIf we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn‚Äôt want us to know, can you do that?

    As the marketers explained to Pole — and as Pole later explained to me, back when we were still speaking and before Target told him to stop — new parents are a retailer’s holy grail.

    Most shoppers don’t buy everything they need at one store. Instead, they buy groceries at the grocery store and toys at the toy store, and they visit Target only when they need certain items they associate with Target — cleaning supplies, say, or new socks or a six-month supply of toilet paper.

    But Target sells everything from milk to stuffed animals to lawn furniture to electronics, so one of the company’s primary goals is convincing customers that the only store they need is Target. But it’s a tough message to get across, even with the most ingenious ad campaigns, because once consumers’ shopping habits are ingrained, it’s incredibly difficult to change them.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/shopping-habits.html?ref=magazine

    • Kaleey says:

      That is just eerie. Incredibly intelligent, marketing genius at its finest, geekdom at its apex (naturally disregarding the social implications of the work). Zounds!

  12. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Or if you’re extra lucky, your doctor’s office will flag your name to get the endless piles of baby related junk mail, when it’s really another patient with the same first and last name as yours, and then you can write and call & hope that it eventually stops.

    I know that when I’m around 67 years old, I’ll be getting high school graduation junk mail.

  13. sqeelar says:

    Target scientists recently discovered what causes pregnancy.

  14. SmokeyBacon says:

    Ok, wait I am going to admit I am confused (I am tired so that is my excuse). So are they tracking a Target credit card or a real (Visa/MC) credit card they are tracking? And why does a teenager have a credit card – especially if it is a Target card? I could understand if it was a regular bank credit card but a Target card for a teenager? Maybe I am just getting too old.

    The reason I ask this, by the way, is that I use my bank credit card at Target all the time but I am not getting any sort of targeted ads/coupons at my house from them – almost everything I get from them is for crap I would never use or buy. I want some useful coupons damn it! I just don’t want a Target card.

    And as far as loyalty cards in general I don’t think they check those too well because I have the same problem with grocery store coupons I get – I never get anything that I would use or buy from them either, and I never use the ones I do get.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      The Target card is an instant 5% coupon for everything. They also give another 1% to the school of your choice.

      Target is the closest grocery store for my family. Walmart is another 2 miles, HEB (Regional low cost grocer, cheapest of the three) is another 2. Target is never crowded. After spending way too much there I switched to the Red Card and have saved hundreds.

  15. OccasionallyOpinionated says:

    Here are the relevant pieces for people who don’t want to read the entire article (Which you should, the entire thing is fascinating and goes well beyond Target into research on how habits are formed. Also a cool aside on the development and marketing of Febreze by P&G).

    “…Whenever possible, Target assigns each shopper a unique code ‚Äî known internally as the Guest ID number ‚Äî that keeps tabs on everything they buy. ‚ÄúIf you use a credit card or a coupon, or Ô¨Åll out a survey, or mail in a refund, or call the customer help line, or open an e-mail we‚Äôve sent you or visit our Web site, we‚Äôll record it and link it to your Guest ID,‚Äù Pole said. ‚ÄúWe want to know everything we can.‚Äù

    Also linked to your Guest ID is demographic information like your age, whether you are married and have kids, which part of town you live in, how long it takes you to drive to the store, your estimated salary, whether you‚Äôve moved recently, what credit cards you carry in your wallet and what Web sites you visit. Target can buy data about your ethnicity, job history, the magazines you read, if you‚Äôve ever declared bankruptcy or got divorced, the year you bought (or lost) your house, where you went to college, what kinds of topics you talk about online, whether you prefer certain brands of coffee, paper towels, cereal or applesauce, your political leanings, reading habits, charitable giving and the number of cars you own…. “

    • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

      That is really really creepy, and very nearly unavoidable. It’s easy to say “If you don’t want to be tracked, don’t sign up for their card!” but this means they track you even if you haven’t done that.

      I guess the only way to not be tracked at all is to never fill out anything, never use anything but cash, and never request a refund for anything.

  16. gttim says:

    As a mathematician/statistician who dates a neuroscientist, this is a fascinating article! I really need to go work for this guy!

  17. DrPizza says:

    :>O People use their real names and addresses on those reward cards?!

  18. KenZ33 says:

    Our last baby was 7 years ago and just this last year my wife started receiving samples from Enfamil and diaper coupons. I wonder what’s she buying to get those.

  19. CrazyEyed says:

    Little creepy but definitely smart. The amount of advanced math and algorithms used must be mind blowing.

  20. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    yeah, about to send a letter to a local car dealership that’s crawled through property tax records and vehicle registrations and sent me a letter specific to “trade in values on your car” – it was car i haven’t owned since 2008 so they did a pretty poor job of it. but it made my skin crawl to think they are looking up property tax/vehicle records on a large scale

  21. lifeispunny says:

    I shop at Thom Thumb- at the end of checking out they always have some coupons to give you that automatically print out. My husband and I like to play the game ‘what did we buy that lead them to believe we want this’. Lots of fun!

  22. khooray says:

    I only get coupons for random crap I’ve never bought and isn’t related to anything in my cart.
    Oh, and the $15 gift card on my NEXT new prescription….after I just filled my new one.
    Thanks for nothing, coupon computer.

  23. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I’d love to see what their algorithm would do with my shopping habits. Several years ago, I was shopping for my elderly mother in law, getting prescriptions, including dementia medication, Depends, Ensure, stuff for myself (a little less than 50 years younger than her), stuff for a college aged daughter, buying various car parts for my Dad, picking up odds and ends for people I work with, etc.

    It wouldn’t have made any sense at all. I wonder what type of coupons I’d have gotten?

  24. DENelson83 says:

    Well guess what… This incident has put Target on my “stigmatized” list. A Target store is slated to come to my area in the next year, and I have already vowed to never, *ever* shop there.

  25. Press1forDialTone says:

    Target has just gone too far to see if they could.
    Cheers to the outraged father.
    Store loyalty cards (which are not used to make purchases,
    or store-branded cards of any kind) can track ALL your
    purchasing behavior if you decide to opt-in. If handled
    respectfully by a store, it can be a good thing for you
    or an incredibly invasive tool for profit at your expense.
    Ditto for the selling of personal data.
    It isn’t the ability to do this through programming
    computers that is the bad thing, it is the USE of the
    ability that is bad and dark. How we use technology
    is up to all of us. Boycott those who abuse it.

  26. Chiclet says:

    This is happening to me right now. Target needs to back off in the baby department. They’re getting to be worse baby-badgerers than my mother-in-law!