Monday, 25 November 2013

Cheap or Private?

This is the debate currently going in my head: protect my privacy or protect my bottom line.

I don't like how "points" cards collect information and sell it to advertisers.  I feel we have far too much advertising in our lives and I want to minimize it.  (Interestingly, some researchers have suggested that staying away from advertising makes people happier in their lives.  Since the goal of advertising is to create desire, that makes sense to me.)

I feel I have a right to be private and I enjoy having a minimal digital footprint. 

However, this is becoming an increasingly expensive proposition to maintain.  For example: airline tickets.  A lot of people have Aeroplan or Air Miles collection cards, giving them discounts on their flights.  The airlines have responded by raising the overall cost of each ticket.  So I, as a non-Air Miles person, get to subsidize everyone else's ticket.

I've been going back and forth as to whether or not I should just join the crowd and reap the benefits.  Clearly my one-woman campaign for non-data-collection is not catching on.  I'm also suspicious of the effectiveness of these programs.  Collect Air Miles, sure, but you need 5 billion points to fly to Toronto or you can only do it via somewhere in Nunavut.  I remember the old Zellers points program, which kept upping the minimum number of points necessary to get anything, or Canadian Tire money, which can now only be used for 10% of your purchase.  No company gives away something for nothing and you often pay a hefty fee for the privilege of "free" stuff.

I'll have to sit down and do the research before making a decision.  This is the time to get started if we want a discount for going to Florida next year.  (Actually, probably six months ago was the time to get started for that but better now that later.)

I just wish I didn't feel like I was making a deal with the Internet devil.

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