The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Which eyes will see, which ears will hear?

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 8:42 am on Friday, June 26, 2009

Pharmacy chick was reading yet another (?!?) article about somebody’s laptop being stolen with private health information on it.  Without getting into too much detail,  there was chart info, and billing information for a lot of patients at some HMO on a laptop stolen from somebody’s truck. 

Aside from the obvious (like, what in the sam hell was this information on a laptop anyway?), who leaves computers in cars anyway?  You are just begging for somebody to steal it.  But lets lets address the first issue.  This kind of stuff shouldn’t be leaving the office in the first place.  If my personal information is on some main frame computer in a dr’s office then THAT is where it belongs.  It shouldn’t be riding around in somebody’s truck.  I dont take patient’s profiles home on my computer.  In fact, I have no access to downloading any kind of information off my store computer.  Why would I want it anyway?  To work at home? Screw that.

Privacy is a joke. We all know it.  Lots of eyes see private information.  Lets just look at one thing: credit card numbers.  Everytime I pay my credit card, I write a check.  Some minimum-wage data entry person in a huge building will rip open my bill and input into a computer that I paid my bill, and what I paid.  This person has my credit card number, my checking account number, my name, address, phone, and my signature. Tell me that doesn’t freak you out a bit.  I have had this account for 15 years.  I doubt that Mr/Mrs Data entry is the same person every month so hundreds of entry people have had access to my stuff. I hope they have good hiring skills and security.

Go to PC pharmacy.  I have a counselling window, a drop off window and a pick up window.  To be honest, if I want privacy, I’d have to take the customer to the bathroom.  My counselling window opens up into my wait room.  My pick up window is at the checkstand.  You can pick which ears will hear your conversation: either the people picking up their rx or the people still waiting in the wait room.  If I try to speak low, then I usually hear “huh?”. I carefully pick words as to not reveal too much information for sensitive issues.  Its a no win situation.

Recently we updated our life insurances to replace some policies ready to expire.  We had to sign a tome worth of papers, essentially opening our life up for view by somebody in a cubicle to decide if we are deserving of more term insurance.  We literally signed away all of our privacy rights on one page.  They can see and ask for everything.  Clearly, if you want life insurance, you have no right to privacy either.

And, as I wrote before, try ordering a pizza.  the guy on the other end has your name and phone number already…on caller ID.

I went to get a hair cut last week at one of these big chain quick cutting places.  They wanted my name/address/phone “for their records”.  “What for?” asked I.  “for our records…again…and to send you coupons…”  So what?  you are gonna clip some hairs off my head and I am going to pay you cash, and I do not need any coupons.  They make me feel like a dolt for not wanting to fork over all my info.

Security cameras are everywhere.  I cannot imagine how many times I have my picture recorded in a given day. 

Too many eyes will eventually see and too many ears will eventually hear.

And, don’t kid yourself into thinking otherwise….


Comment by Rose

June 26, 2009 @ 11:09 am

you aren’t kidding! i’ve been to toys r us where they ask for your phone number-i just say no. or some stores that ask for your zip code. no.

and, how about those shopper cards at kroger or other grocery stores where you put in your name/addy/phone number to get a card…then they can track what you buy?

im not paranoid, and i still use my Kroger card, but it is something to think about.

good post.

Comment by Marguerite Floyd

June 27, 2009 @ 7:58 pm

When I’m asked for that kind of stuff I just make up names and numbers. Easier and quicker than saying no and having to defend yourself.

Comment by The Ole' Apothecary

June 29, 2009 @ 7:22 pm

The registration division of one of the states I am licensed in had to send out a warning to all licensees two years ago because of a laptop incident, where personal info, including SSNs, was lost. They advised each of us to put a fraud alert on our credit recore.

In retail, the whole thing started with this one national electronic retailer. For years, they demanded demographics with each purchase! After having my name and address practically required by those people for EACH sale, no matter how trivial, I just stopped going there. I think it took them until 2002 or so before they realized that they were harassing their customers right out the door, and must have run a press release that they are no longer collecting that information.

A certain office supply chain wants phone numbers. Yesterday, I refused.

A nationally known book store offers discounts for “memberships.” I gave up at $7 discount on a book to avoid getting on their “member” list.

Comment by chris

June 30, 2009 @ 4:45 am

I laugh when I go into Ikea, they have these family cards that you pick up there and send of a form to register it laters with your name, address, date of birth etc. They dont acrue any points or loyalty bonus but I am asked for it every time, its is a pure marketing tool as far as I am aware so they can track what you buy and try and push you other things in the form of mail outs. As the carrot they have discounts available only to family card holders, sometimes upto 50% of certain items. I just pick up a new card every time i go in and bin it on my way out.

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