California Amber Alert and Big Box Retailers Tracking Returns

We have an exciting episode this week and would love to hear what you think.   We lead off with a discussion of California’s first statewide Amber Alert system that was activated last week – what does this means, how effective was it, did it help.  We finish the show with an interesting discussion about big box retailers keeping tabs on the return habits of the consumer – is this a privacy concern, how much is being tracked, how to get information.

First California Amber Alert

In the late evening hours, millions of cell phones were sent Amber Alert messages.  The moment was monumental because it was the first statewide use of the Amber Alert system.  Following receipt of the message, thousands poured online to provide commentary on the issue.  Some people were very irritated at the message, claiming that the alert disrupted sleep patterns of their children and caused others to look at their phones while driving.  Others with a bit softer of hearts, welcomed the alert and immediately posted and tweeted about the missing 16-year old girl.  It was a historic moment in California and it moved people to act and respond, positively and negatively.

Retailers keeping tabs on consumers’ return habits

So much attention has been placed on government tracking and surveillance programs over the past few months.  Without many of us knowing, big box retailers are and have been tracking the return habits of their consumers.  Returns and personal information are being collected and processed into a consumer profile report.  An estimated $264 billion are returned to stores each year, which can open the doors to fraudulent activity, high-priced retail organized crime, higher prices, and financial losses for companies.  Clearly there are some privacy and disclosure concerns when evaluating this issue.  What do you think?  Let us know after you have a listen.


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