While standing in line to pay at Omar De Serres recently, I heard the cashiers asking each person, regardless of payment method, for their postal code. I found this a little odd, and un-necessarily intrusive. So when I got to the cash, and the guy asked me for my postal code I said “I don’t have to give you that, do I?” and he said “Nope” and continued with my transaction.
What is this un-necessary data collection for? At first I though it was so that they could send junk mail to known customers, but my wife pointed out that a postal code usually only targets a set of addresses, not a single dwelling. Jen thinks that it’s so they can analyze sales data per customer area, but what would be the point, and why not just asked for the first part of the postal code?
Whatever the reason, I’m pretty sure it’s not of any benefit to the customer. It slows down the transaction, making people wait longer, and it’s just another small erosion of our privacy.
If someone asks you for personal data, ask yourself “do they need that?” before giving it to them. That’s especially true in an online setting.