Thursday, March 11, 2010

CVS settlement with the Federal Trade Commission

A couple of days ago, I received a letter from the FTC saying that it had sued CVS Pharmacy for falsely claiming that its Air Shield product prevented colds.  While I didn't actively sign up for this lawsuit, the letter claims that "according to its records, I had purchased Air Shield."  Kind of scary.  FYI, if you don't know what Air Shield is, it's a knock-off of Air Borne, which also has faced a similar lawsuit.  Enclosed with the letter is a check for $24.81, which is pretty awesome of course.

I have always liked Air Shield and swear by the stuff.  It's cheaper than Air Borne and I like to make a cocktail of Air Shield and Theraflu when I am feeling a little if-y.  I will gladly cash the check and give up my right to sue them further.  You might want to check your mailbox to see if you have received a similar letter. 

The power of loyalty marketing

But, this is a great example of the power of loyalty marketing.  I am a huge fan of CVS ExtraBucks, and have written about them on many occasions such as here and here.  And, just the other day, I walked out of CVS having purchased two tubes of toothpaste for $.79 because I had a $2 ExtraCare buck receipt and Crest was offering a two-for-one deal, originally at $2.79.  Since I proceeded to use the self checkout, I kind of felt like CVS lost money on my transaction by having an employee stand there.  I don't think they saw the grin on my face as I left the store knowing what I had just pulled off, all on the up and up.

However, I also realized that the Feds (or others) are using this data.  Thus, one has to think about the privacy they are sacrificing for savings.  As long as one doesn't become a victim of identity theft (or some other malicious targeting) because of it, I don't mind signing up for these types of loyalty programs.  When you think about it, you already are tracked by your bank, the IRS, credit card companies, the health care industry, and many others.  It becomes very difficult to live "off the grid."  Just yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control used grocery store data to track the spread of salmonella.  Thus, your data is being used. 

100th Post Today

Thanks to the loyal readers who have read me from the beginning.  Today, I write my 100th post and hope to write another 100.  I appreciate your ideas, thoughts, and comments.  Without them, I would be writing to myself.

Tell me where you have saved money!