Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
You might want to look at this.
From the article in Lawyers and Settlements: "The lawsuit alleges Best Buy has established a business practice of taking, storing, using and/or sharing customers’ personal or highly restricted personal information, without consent, when customers make a normal return of Best Buy merchandise. Their receipt indicates that Best Buy “tracks exchanges and returns … and some of the information from your ID may be stored in a secure, encrypted database of customer activity that Best Buy and its affiliates use to track exchanges and returns.”
Though the 11th Circuit later dismissed the suit filed in November 22, 2011 (as reported elsewhere), they did so because BB's activity did not violate customers' privacy in the current legal sense, not because customers' privacy is inviolate in the practical sense. BB is still going to glean and store information from swiping licenses which a lot of potential customers would rather they didn't possess.
And then of course there was that incident with the Geek Squad in which a customer's personal nude photos were posted online by BB staff members who worked on her computer.
From a different report in the Huffington Post:
"This isn't the first time a Geek Squad employee has decided to grab a customer's nude pictures from a computer. . . . In 2007, William E. Giffels was fired after he admitted to storing a customer's nude pictures on his personal flash drive, according to The Star Tribune."
Personal-information-sharing is part of the discount card package that greets, and cashier who hectors, the customer at every BB cash register. In this, BB is no different from Duane Reade or nearly any other chain that offers a discount card.
Violating customers' privacy without asking for specific permissions is something that major companies have done since one of our previous presidents signed the omission into law: BB is not being singled out here. They are being included because (1) your company makes money selling customers' private information and (2) the person from Dallas's accusation was that to try to buy Momentums at a discount was "screwing over" a company that would make money from the purchase. BB is not some innocent enterprise to be tainted by the evil Head-fi member who looks for a substantial discount -- which the salesperson and BB would have to approve before the discount could ever go into effect.
Notice that I never mentioned privacy rights in the legal sense, as you did. That's because calling what BB does illegal would be a ridiculous claim and one you can't possibly be serious about attributing to me.
Yes, BB does care about head-fi members' business, which was my point: Buying headphones at a discount is still offering BB one's business. Whether or not the discount is an acceptable one to honor is up to BB and not the customer.
The same is true of customers who combine discounts and coupons. Combinations might work in ways that seem too good to be true, but using them is not to be conflated with "screwing over" Best Buy.
The truth is that BB "screws over" entire neighborhoods, local communities and stores every time they move into massive stores into a new territory, just as B&N and Borders closed innumerable small bookstores decades ago. (The irony is that Borders is now gone, B&N is losing money and, despite the growing sales of ebooks, indie book stores are making a comeback.)
BB is certainly leagues better than Walmart in terms of how they treat their employees, and their merchandise is far more useful to me, but that's not what you and I happen to be discussing.
Also: You seemed to miss the fact I was being sarcastic about BB not wanting head-fi's business (as was the gentleman from Dixie in addressing my post). That makes me skeptical about your entire interpretation of my post.
You might have insight into aspects of BB's business, but you might also have a conflict of interests which I do not. Investigating corporate abuses is something I do on my own time and not for money.
This is quite a lengthy response.
With regard to Best Buy selling customer information. Nothing you said backs this up. As far as customer privacy goes, your article states that Best Buy was following the law. I will concede that Best Buy may collect more information than some people are comfortable with, but I fail to see how that is avoidable. Running such a large business, massive data collection is unavoidable. There will always be someone who isn't happy. You also fail to acknowledge that people CHOOSE to shop at Best Buy. ID's are only scanned to track customers returning items without a receipt, to counteract fraud. This data is protected in every conceivable way. If you wish to avoid having your information in this system, then don't lose your receipt. Then again, if you do lose your receipt, that is stored in another system. I can't tell you how angry customers get when Best Buy can't find a receipt they lost. So, clearly, not all customers are uncomfortable with Best Buy having their information. I can speak first-hand the lengths Best Buy goes to in order to protect that data.
Regarding the Geek Squad example you gave. The actions of rogue employees are not necessarily indicative of a company, or a companies' stance on customer data protection. It's unfortunate that it has happened, but I don't think you can say Best Buy has acted irresponsibly in that regard. Nearly any organization that holds data has experienced a similar breach. This includes the government, ALL retailers, Google etc...
You assert that Best Buy violates customers' privacy for profit. This is simply not true, and nothing you have said back's that up.
Edited by Speakerphile - 8/16/13 at 2:08pm