Image of the Day: Club Golabutron

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Hey Stop! Read the comic first! Then skip the rant below!

I must be the most naive dweeb in the world. I read in my KQED magazine a couple weeks ago that HMOs are actually trying to purchase Club Card data from Safeway and other stores… and I was almost surprised! I knew it was a possibility, but I always thought that it was too evil, even for an insurance company to try. And I should have known better, being the son of an insurance agent.

Insurance companies hate one thing above all else: people who will actually file a claim some day. Their perfect business model is to have a huge pool of customers paying premiums for insurance they’ll never need because they represent the peak of human perfection.

There is a solid argument that club card data can be correlated to health risk. It can hint at “high-risk” behaviors like heavy drinking, smoking, junk food binging, etc. Never mind all of the reasons why this data proves nothing… if there is a statistical correlation it will be used.

Club cards are scary all around, but usually not in ways that can affect your life as much as this HMO business. Usually it just means you get more junk mail, and eventually your shopping cart will bug you when it’s time to swap the sour milk at the back of the fridge for a fresh carton. I can live with all of that because it doesn’t cost me. It does bug me that before long, the only way anybody will be able to afford food is to sign up for one of these things. Luckily, good ol’ laissez faire will someday lead to the mind-boggling innovation of clubless grocery stores, where the prices are low for everybody who comes in and wants to spend money there. I can’t wait…

For now, of course, the only solution is to subvert the system as much as possible. Use fake names, or avoid using the cards for as long as that is an option. But I would argue against trading cards with a friend, lest you pay for their bad habits later on.

Anyway, rant terminated.

4 Responses to “Image of the Day: Club Golabutron”

  1. Daniel Dolinov Says:
    November 12th, 2002 at 7:08 am

    Ha. This reminds me the one about the news crew that discovered the oldest man alive somewhere in the Caucuses. So they come over and inerview the guy through an interperter. “What’s your secret?” asks the head reporter, ” How did you manage to live to be 155 and remain in perfect health with all your faculites intact?” The old man answers, “Through calean living and equanimity; no drinking, smoking or overeating; no women or…” All of a sudden there is a noise of loud music and lustful cries from the next room. “What is that?” asks the reporter. “Ah, it’s my older brother, I can’t stand the guy — all the women, boozing, later night parties…”

  2. KatD Says:
    November 12th, 2002 at 11:58 am

    The interesting thing I’ve found is that while I thought I was actually paying a lot more for food when I shop at Whole Foods or the co-op, I popped into Safeway the other day, and their prices were higher! Much higher, in fact.

  3. Joshua A. Hart Says:
    November 12th, 2002 at 1:46 pm

    Daniel: Good one…

    KatD: I’ve noticed the same thing. Safeway’s prices are really inflated, and their selection is the pits if your tastes lie even slightly towards the bizarre. I started shopping at “Rainbow Grocers” in SF recently. I’m not convinced their prices are much better than Safeway’s across the board, but the hippie and yuppie foods are definitely cheaper. There’s not a single bottle of Heinz Catsup to be found, though. Would it kill them to stock Dr. Pepper!? I don’t think so!

  4. KatD Says:
    November 12th, 2002 at 3:10 pm

    Beej and I found some bizarre natural concoction called “Dr. Whatever” at Whole Foods. It does taste sort of taste like Dr. Pepper, if Dr. Pepper were made of natural ingredients. So it’s not exact.