I hate you, Payless

Here’s a typical situation: the Romgi and I are at a store. We’ve collected our awesome purchases and brought them up to the cashier. She scans them, puts them in a bag, and as I swipe my debit card she asks, “Can I get your phone number/zip code?”

I sigh. “Do you need it?” I respond.

She says something about “information purposes” or an equally incoherent phrase. So I decline.

The Romgi shakes his head and walks away. As we walk out of the store, he asks me why I couldn’t just give them my phone number (or zip code). Grouchily, I tell him that I don’t like them having my information.

Today, faithful readers, the Romgi admitted that I was totally right.

We’d gone to Payless recently to replace my one pair of black shoes (I bought the old ones in 2006), and just to make the Romgi’s life easier I gave the cashier my phone number. Actually, just to be ornery, I gave her the Romgi’s phone number. And we left the store without issue.


Today the Romgi got a text message from Payless!

PAYLESS thx U 4 giving us ur #! Get 20% off ur next purchase w/code 33079 thru 4/11

Maybe this doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, especially since I was able to call and use an automated system to remove the Romgi’s number from their mailing list. But it’s a HUGE deal to me. Unsolicited texts! Those cost ME money! Email is one thing – it’s easy to click unsubscribe or even call it spam. But a text seems much more invasive (and can I point out again, it costs me money to receive).

The Romgi wonders if this could make a class-action lawsuit.

Regardless, I now feel completely justified in flat-out refusing to give my phone number to stores now. I spoke with a Payless customer service guy over the phone, and he explained that they do collect phone numbers for “marketing,” which I never would have anticipated to mean “We will sign you up for our text message mailing list and bombard you with stupid messages.”

Fail, Payless.