Panera Wants My Phone Number

Like so many other businesses, the coffee/pastry chain Panera Bread has launched a rewards card program.  I was given the card a week or so ago and was told I needed to register it online.  When I went to the website there was a form requesting a whole slew of personal info: address, phone numbers, email, etc.  I thought about all the other businesses that have collected the same info over the years, who have then sold that data to yet other unknown people, and so on.  Taking a bold stand for privacy, I decided not to fill out the registration form.  There used to be a little card that they gave you at Panera.  It would be stamped each time you bought something there and when you had 10 stamps you got a free pastry.  No personal info exchanged.  Apparently this kind of system is not good enough anymore.  Panera needs my phone number!  Today when I went there to buy a coffee and pastry the cashier asked me if I had a rewards card.  I said I hadn’t registered it.  She told me I could have gotten a free pastry if I had the card.  So… should I sell my privacy for a pastry?  Maybe I should just pay for the pastry.

By mannd

I am a retired cardiac electrophysiologist who has worked both in private practice in Louisville, Kentucky and as a Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado in Denver. I am interested not only in medicine, but also in computer programming, music, science fiction, fantasy, 30s pulp literature, and a whole lot more.

1 comment

  1. I agree completely with your comments on Panera and other companies that want so much personal information. They then can link your personal info with your CC information in their datebase(not saying they would sell your CC info). However, the scary thing is that if someone hacks into their system – whamo – they have all your info(even worse if they want your birthday). Perfect for IDENTITY THEFT! This is one of the fast growing crimes as I’m sure you are well aware. I refuse all customer loyalty cards except for Kroger and even then didn’t give them accurate phone/address info.
    I read a book recently by the guy who was featured in the movie Catch Me if You Can staring LD. He works for the FBI now and helps catch identity theft criminals. Not an easy task. Many of the identity theft rings are based in foreign countries. A HUGE PROBLEM if it happens to you. Definetly not worth a free pastry!

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