Friday, January 7, 2011

A Small Request For My Local Supermarket

A regular part of my weekly grocery order involves requesting a home delivery. The cashier asks me for my phone number and confirms my address when it appears on the computer screen. I Don't much care about my privacy,being a dumpy middle aged man. Unfortunately,a lot of other people get asked the same question, even in the check cashing store. I know of two instances where a female got a call from someone who eavesdropped as she was giving over personal information. Neither woman welcomed the attention.

There is a simple solution to this problem,one that the programmer for a business computer could ttake care of. Instead of indexing customer information by the entire phone number,why not index it with the last four digits of the phone number and the first three letters of the customer,s last name,or the customer,s initials?

A customer named John Michaels might tell the cashier that his customer number is JMI 1279. For extra measure, the cashier might read a password off the screen and ask if it belongs to him. That would protect the privacy of the customer from eavesdroppers. Amazingly enough, I have even heard customers in check cashing places asked for their phone number through the bullet proof glass at the cashier's window.

Another solution might be to have a local merchant's card with the address indexed on it for deliveries and other customer service purposes. Merchants could offer people with the card discounts to encourage them to shop locally.

In most instances, computer systems have enhanced shopping and customer service. There still is, however, room for improvement. I hope shopkeepers will take heed.

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