Disgruntled grocery shoppers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area have organised a demonstration against Albertson’s new “Preferred Savings Card” – and this Saturday they will call on the store to discontinue it. 

Shoppers are concerned that the new card program invades their privacy, results in discriminatory pricing, and betrays Albertson’s long standing “no card needed” advertising promise. 

Each time a customer shops at Albertson’s using a “Preferred Savings Card,” an itemized record of her purchase is made and stored in a database. Data collected in this way is used to create profiles of individual shoppers. These highly detailed profiles can be subpoenaed for use against individuals in lawsuits, divorce settlements, insurance cases, and criminal investigations. 

According to supermarket industry publications, card programs are typically paid for by raising the non-card prices on items throughout the store to penalize those who refuse to sign up for a card. This form of two-tiered, discriminatory pricing is designed to make the card-based “sale” prices look more attractive, when in reality the card sale prices are often higher than the everyday prices of the competition.

Josh Jalowiec, one of the Dallas-area shoppers organizing the protest, said: “We’re incredibly disappointed in Albertson’s.

“Not only did they go back on their word to us, but now they expect us to sacrifice our privacy in exchange for so-called ‘discounts’ which are not savings at all. We want them to go back to good old fashioned savings without the surveillance. Until they do, we are calling on shoppers to vote with their feet and shop somewhere else.” 

The protest is spearheaded by Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN), a national grass-roots consumer group formed in 1999 to oppose supermarket “loyalty” or frequent shopper cards.