CINCINNATI - A report in the New York Times says Target's sophisticated computer system is able to guess when a female shopper is pregnant, based on 25 items that pregnant women buy.
Some of those items include vitamins, zinc, and magnesium supplements, and cocoa butter lotion. Toss in extra large clothing, or a rocking chair, and the store decides you are pregnant.
So how does Target know?
As Forbes.com reports, every customer is assigned a guest ID number that is tied to their name, email address and credit card number. The company is able to track purchases and send coupons based on a customer's preferences. For moms to be, Target also sends offers on products that women have signed up for in past baby registries.
However, not all shoppers are appreciative of this service.
An irate father scolded a Target manager at a store location outside of Minneapolis, asking why his teenage daughter received baby coupons in the mail.
It turned out his daughter was pregnant, but the family was unaware. She had been shopping at Target for products an expectant mom typically buys, which is why she received offers for baby products.
The New York Times says Target's goal is to lure expectant moms during their second trimester, to get them to make Target their number one shopping destination.
The father later apologized to the manager and Target changed its coupon strategy. The company now sends coupons in personalized booklets in a more subtle presentation.
Even though creating customer IDs is legal for stores to do, you may want to spread out your shopping or pay by cash anonymously if you don't want stores to track your purchases.
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