WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT SUPERMARKET SHOPPER CARDS?

The No-Cards Shoppers web site was founded by Zelda Gordon in 1997 as an on-line protest against supermarket "loyalty" schemes involving customer ID cards and two-tiered pricing. Please visit the site to learn more about the grassroots No Cards! movement, which began as an outlash against an intrusive, discriminary and price-inflating gimmick.

Those seem like the simple olden days just five-and-a-half years later, as continuing developments in data collection and management, ID systems both for products and for people, and increasing corporate consolidation in every arena expand our concerns beyond the lowly shopper card. Today we have biometric ID systems to spy on people in public places; microscopic radio frequency chips (RFID) to secretly track the merchandise you buy; video and 'smart-cart' shopper surveillance systems -- and all of this under the new Homeland Security regime where no privacy policy, however earnest, will be able to withstand government demands for privately collected data. The issues are so complex and far-reaching one is tempted to give up before even getting into the fight. And that's why I always do come back to that lowly shopper card. There is nothing trivial about supermarkets holding our food hostage in order to extract information that gives them the economic edge, limits our choice, and is more and more likely to be used against us in a variety of circumstances from employment opportunities to insurance claims to profiling by law enforcement.

No-Cards Shoppers simply call on fellow consumers to reject so-called 'loyalty' cards, manipulative pricing and the companies that throw away their millions figuring out ways to cheat the public instead of investing in employees and improving services. Supermarket shopper cards have been around long enough to demonstrate that they really do lead to higher prices, even for those who submit to the tracking. They also are a factor in mergers and acquisitions, which reduce competition which also contributes to higher prices. There's really nothing to gain by signing-up, and we've already lost much by allowing the cards to become entrenched... but it's never too late to say, No-Cards!

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