Information Age Commercialism: Would You Like To Give Us All Your Personal Information With That?
If you’ve recently engaged in consumption in the epicenter of commercialism and consumerism, the United States of America, you’ve most likely been berated by a litany of questions about you, and maybe even your loved ones, at the checkout stand. That’s right – moving forward, US commercialism has morphed into a data-gathering exercise so that a convenient storyline of an individual’s buying history can be compiled by the corporate-power structure. Even if you are using discrete cash your transaction will be pried onto the record’s of multi-nationals. Remember, most of these corporate entities – at the very top – are one. So, from your organic groceries to your anti-establishment entertainment preferences, if you answer the questions asked, then a detailed record will be kept.
Let’s take, for instance, my recent experience at Radio Shack. When I purchased a pair of headphones for $20 so that I could listen to punk rock on my jogs, I had a number of questions to answer. Of course, I did not have to answer the questions, but the promise of a $5 gift certificate if I complied was just too much to resist.
And so, i proceeded to surrender my full name, address, phone number, mother’s maiden name, social security, what phone company I used (perhaps for efficient wiretapping), and my e-mail address. And then, I was asked if I would like to donate to a foundation.I declined the latter part knowing full-well that, while the foundation might purport to fight cancer worldwide, if it was anything like foundations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, etc., it probably was promoting cancer as a sick form of family planning. Luckily, I still got that $5 gift certificate.
I had been profiled, and thus could be on my way with my new headphones. What an exercise in Stasi-ism. And, to think, U.S. citizens have no qualms about surrendering such information. Having one’s privacy invaded as such has been so normalized that being requested to surrender such information is the status-quo and accepted.
In the near-future, the information collected by private enterprise and public authorities will all be synthesized into an ECHELON-esque database containing a shopping history, a travel history (based on where shopping occurred, even if you use cash), public record, criminal record, and so on. You will be intimately known by strangers if you ever find yourself in trouble, even if it is for non-violent acts.