I had a very strange and annoying thing happen to me at the grocery store today. Let me first start by saying that I use coupons and I use all the apps I talk about in my article How to Get Paid to Shop. Today I was using Shopkick. If you are not familiar with it, it’s an app that you use to earn gift cards by visiting stores; all kinds of retailers, not just supermarkets. You open the app outside the store, sometimes you get points for just walking in, and sometimes by scanning items inside the store. I have many friends who have earned quite a few gift cards by using this.
As I was saying, I was at the supermarket today and I opened my app at the door as usual to pick up my walk-in points. I thought I would check out what the scans were just in case I was buying any of the stuff. Turns out that none of them were on my shopping list, but they weren’t hard to find, so I figured I would do a bit of scanning first. It’s like a scavenger hunt.
I approached the rice aisle to find the products to scan and there was a middle-aged woman looking at the items next to me. I didn’t pay her any mind, just began scanning the different rice boxes that Shopkick wanted me to. After just a few moments she turns to me and asks me what I am doing. I explain to her about the app, how you can earn stuff without having to buy anything, and right now I’m getting points by scanning rice boxes — she looks at me like I am a crazy person. She’s not much older than me so couldn’t have been surprised by the technology, but fine, I get it, it’s not for everyone, whatever. So I finish the scanning and she is still standing there staring at me like I have tail or something. Now she’s being a little bit creepy.
I turn and walk away, but she follows me, catches up, and intensely prattles off a list of questions and comments at me like I’m being interrogated: who is behind this, what is their purpose, what are their plans, you know nothing is free, that’s not safe to use, it sounds like they are the devil. Yes, the devil made an appearance in her barking commentary. She tells me that you never know what these people will do next with all the information they have about me. I sigh inwardly. Now I have a crazy bitch following me. Super.
I don’t stop walking, but I take a breath to compose myself, then I briefly explain to her it is basically anonymous; they don’t have anything but my email address (of which I use a fakey/spam Gmail address for stuff like this). Lady wasn’t satisfied and she wasn’t through with me yet. She continued following me around the corner and down the next aisle while dousing me with round 2 of her cray-cray: she would rather pay full price for everything than jeopardize her privacy, she urges me to stop using it right now, saving money isn’t worth it, and I think Satan’s dastardly plans might have made another appearance in this round of verbal badgering. Meanwhile my kids are running amok up and down the aisle, crashing into each other and the shelves, making so much noise. I realize that this lady is probably doing what she feels is the right and just trying to help save me from damnation, because apps are sinful or something, but I’ve had enough and I don’t have time for her bullshit. I stop my cart, look her dead in the eye, and with a polite but stern voice I say to her, “just by owning a cell phone you basically have no privacy so if you don’t like that then don’t get one.” I turned back to my cart and walked away from her the second time.
I wanted to let her know how very special she was that she didn’t have to use coupons, that earning gift cards can be useful for Christmas and birthdays, and how nice it was for her to be living up on that high horse. These are the things that I wanted to say, but I’m nice, so I didn’t. I just walked away.