Why do they all want my phone number?

I am being assaulted by businesses that want my phone number. Petco, Staples, all of the local grocery stores, Google, and even Netflix. I flat-out refuse to give them my phone number. Why do they want it?

So they can call you up and tell you about their day. And how Ann in accounting is a TOTAL BEYOTCH! and so forth…

In my experience, it’s so they can text you for account verification when someone logs in and changes something. I get text notifications when I log in to Google from a new browser or make a password change - or if I forget everything and need to recover a password, I can set it to text it to me rather than to the email account for which I forgot the password.

For supermarkets and drug stores, etc., I always assumed it was so they could have a unique number for each customer that the customer could/would actually remember.
I agree about the password stuff for on line sites with logins

This is definitely the case for pizza places and I suspect it applies elsewhere. They use the customer’s phone number as the index for their computer database. It’s much less error prone to get a phone number than to spell the customer’s name right. This wouldn’t apply on-line, where you’re typing in your own name, but it started before on-line ordering was a thing.

Instead of knowing shopping habits about a (generic) customer, they know shopping habits about you! :eek: Marketing goldmine.
I have never had any loyalty card with my real information associated with it.

Because pre-web ordering, you called them to place an order. With Caller ID, they had info before they picked up the phone.

In my admittedly limited experience for pizza places, they usually don’t have caller-id. It costs money to get that service and pizza places are run on a minimal budget. No doubt some do, but lots of people block it anyway. So generally the first thing they do when someone calls in an order is ask for the customer’s phone number. That lets them look up the customer record with minimal hassle and wasted time.

It’s unique to you (unlike your address or a credit card number you may share with spouse or family). It’s increasingly likely to track you throughout your life regardless of address changes, name changes etc. It’s possible to fairly quickly verify, by sending you a text or email to which you need to respond to get some sort of service or benefit.

Above all however, like the one ring that binds you, it’s a cross referencing number that allows collation of data about you from a great number of sources. So Google knows vast amounts about you from your web browsing, and all these stores know about your buying habits and Netflix knows what you watch and when, and Facebook knows, well, everything. All this can all be brought together into one database by using your phone number to connect Google’s data to Netflix’s data to Petco’s data to Facebook’s data and so on.

PetSmart uses your phone number in place of a loyalty card. I actually like the idea.

A number of pizza places where I’ve ordered, they phone right back and confirm the order before they put it in the oven. Too many crank orders.

I give them 867-5309. And it usually goes straight over the cashier’s head, too.

That’s a song from 1981. I don’t know how long it was popular, but even if it was still playing in 1991, you’d have to be 25 and remember it from your birth year to recognize it – or 35 and remember it from when you were ten. Most cashiers at pizza parlors are younger than that in my experience.

Several places let you enter your phone number into the key pad to get your discounts, in case you don’t want to carry a metric ton of loyalty cards everywhere. Safeway, PetCo, PetSmart all do it. You enter the number and get the weekly deals or what have you.

I think it’s easy for you to remember, and likely unique to you.

Whether you want to participate in loyalty programs is up to you entirely. There are some I like quite a bit. Others are annoying and I cancel. Grocery stores and pet stores seem to work well.

It’s obvious, OP, you’re a hottie.

Yep. Jenny shops everywhere!

I still hear that song played all the time. I’m 21, but a lot of people are stuck in the 80’s and keep playing it.

& music teachers teach it to their students to sing at school concerts, adding it to a whole new generation.

::backs off OldGuy’s lawn::

Although IME in many cases if you don’t have one, the cashier usually has a generic card/number/barcode at the register they scan to give you the discounts anyways.

I’d imagine this goes against store policy; surely they are instructed to offer to sign up anyone who doesn’t have a card, but rather the cashiers do it simply to avoid the hassle of both explaining the signup process to the customer as well as not having to deal with complaints about differences between the labeled price and what the customer was charged because they didn’t have a loyalty card.

There can be more to it than that. One of my ex-wife’s nephews worked at CVS. When someone did not have a card he used one that he kept in his pocket, you know, to “get them the discounted price” or something like that. In reality, he was using the same card dozens of times a day and running up loyalty points, and this was actually HIS PERSONAL card. At that time, no idea if it is still the case, you could convert CVS points into real dollars off merchandise. He was basically stealing $100s of dollars a month worth of value. They busted him eventually and fired his sorry self.

Frankly I blame CVS for that.

I was with Safeway when they developed and introduced their loyalty card program. As an employee I was simply not eligible to benefit from any promotions based on usage. When there was such a bonus, for example one of the bonuses was a whole-order 5% off coupon, they just gave every employee a 5% off coupon at the beginning of the promotion and we could not “earn” one with our card.

Of course there were ways around this, but for the great majority of employees the relatively minuscule gain of a coupon was nothing versus the loss of their $35,000+ salary, and management made sure this point was made very clear to everyone.