My Beef with Brookshire's Grocery Store-Loyalty Cards


My Beef with Brookshire's Grocery Store-Loyalty Cards

27 June 2008 at 9:42:44 AM

Yesterday I was at Brookshire\'s buying some items. I used to shop at what is now Brookshire\'s when it was a different named grocery store, but on the very first day of Brookshire\'s taking over, they had set up a table selling loyalty cards aka Thank You cards. I assume everyone knows what a loyalty card is. Information about you and your purchases is scanned in in exchange for you getting a normal price to pay on items instead of the heavily jacked up prices.  In other words, you are getting cheaper prices for items IN EXCHANGE FOR selling out your purchasing decisions to help out marketers. Now, I don\'t disagree that someone might want to do that but maybe THOSE people ought to get an extra discount off REGULARLY priced items instead of jacked up inflated ones.

Well, I don\'t like them, I don\'t have one, even though I should probably tattoo that fact on my forehead since I get asked if I have one every single time I shop there. Sometimes I get the second question "Do you Want One?" depending on how crisply and with finality I answer the first question. But it really does annoy me that Brookshires (and other grocery stores like it) want to try to force me to get one or my penalty is that I would pay inflated jacked up prices. (And, this being a tourist town, that goes for all the people who shop here while camping or going to some place or event-unless YOU have a loyalty card, you will be paying more for groceries.)

studies have found that loyalty cards\' primary purpose -- to offer savings to members -- do no such thing. In fact, stores that use loyalty card programs actually increase the regular prices of items for non-club members, making purchases more expensive for all buyers and reducing the margin of card members\' saving to almost nothing. "Everyday" items can be marked up from 28-71% after card programs are introduced.

I don\'t even speak to the fact that a whole bunch of places now want you to have their loyalty cards and you could end up with a big fat wallet full of plastic. I don\'t want that, but it\'s not really the point.

MY point is that I want to go to a grocery store where everyone is treated the same and everyone pays the same price, not an unfair two-tiered system. What I have been doing since Brookshire\'s took over the store is going to Stephenville to HEB, which has a nicer store anyway and does NOT use loyalty cards.  And, on the invasion of privacy stuff, read this. Loyalty Cards: Reward or Threat?

When you\'re stacking up grocery items at the checkout line, you\'re probably not worried about whether your supermarket chain is compiling a profile of you based on what you buy, and storing that information for its own use. After all, who cares if you buy one brand of tissues over another, or favor name-brand microwave pizzas over store brands?

Supermarket chains care. So does CVS. So much so that they use discount cards (referred to as "membership" or "loyalty" cards) to offer you what seem like great bargains. They use the cards to keep tabs on what you purchase, how often you shop, and what your buying preferences are.

And, just as data brokers like ChoicePoint collect personal data and use it to build an aggregate "profile" of individual consumers, supermarket chains use their stored data to target buyers with "special" offers and "preferred" advertisements from their marketing partners.

And guess what,  the companies might not even have their own in-house card program but be outsourcing the program to 3rd parties.

When you\'re stacking up grocery items at the checkout line, you\'re probably not worried about whether your supermarket chain is compiling a profile of you based on what you buy, and storing that information for its own use. After all, who cares if you buy one brand of tissues over another, or favor name-brand microwave pizzas over store brands?

Supermarket chains care. So does CVS. So much so that they use discount cards (referred to as "membership" or "loyalty" cards) to offer you what seem like great bargains. They use the cards to keep tabs on what you purchase, how often you shop, and what your buying preferences are.

And, just as data brokers like ChoicePoint collect personal data and use it to build an aggregate "profile" of individual consumers, supermarket chains use their stored data to target buyers with "special" offers and "preferred" advertisements from their marketing partners.

The privacy disclaimer about the Thank You cards doesn\'t say whether Brookshire\'s uses a third party company to actually run the program or whether Brookshire\'s runs the whole thing entirely itself, as an island, so to speak. Let\'s say it is all in-house. Even so, it\'s collections of information that ought not to have to be given up just to buy some dang items at a normal price.

If you feel like I do, let Brookshire\'s know. It isn\'t like they have been doing this forever. I used to live in a town and shop regularly at the local Brookshire\'s there and it was PRE-Loyalty cards. What I do now is drive to another town and shop at a store that doesn\'t use loyalty cards, HEB. Great products, I don\'t go as often and make a big list for when I go, but it\'s entirely worth it.

Update: Seminars run by the information Brookshire's collects via loyalty card.

Brookshire Grocery Co. and Spire will share a case study about how best to leverage lifestyle or lifestage segmentation within the category management organization. Specifically, they will highlight how "essence segmentation" - taking the "you are what you buy" approach - was used to build strategic store clusters. They will discuss the role that this segmentation plays in assortment planning and optimization, as well as private brand product planning through launch. Audience members will:

  • Understand how a retailer gets actionable use out of their loyalty card data through complex, but easy-to-understand lifestyle/lifestage segmentation.
  • Learn how to apply traditional category management principles with a shopper-centric lens.
  • Hear a case study that will show actual results and discussion about what’s next for Brookshire Grocery Co.

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More on Brookshire Grocery Cards *Thank You* Aka Loyalty Cards
1 - Kenneth   30 Mar 2009 @ 6:07:11 PM  I can see some points that you make, but I can't see why someone that hates a store so much would take the time to post a paragraph on why you hate the store. Heres a simple solution: Don't shop there. Brookshire's isn't particularly the only supermaket using loyalty card programs. Kroger, a major conglomerate is guilty of the same. Walmart, while it doesn't have a loyalty card, but it collects your information another way. Such as maybe when you use your debit/credit card at the terminals. So why pin-point Brookshire's when even larger what you have read online, can be posted by anyone, you don't actually know for sure that they do such.

2 - salon   30 Mar 2009 @ 6:26:07 PM 

You don't understand the principle of being able to exercise free speech with an opinion? You'll note if you had read my entire post that I don't shop at Brookshire's. I drive to another town and shop at HEB. I don't shop at Kroger for the same reason I don't shop at Brookshire's and I also don't shop at Walmart. I actually DO know what the other chains do, I have CALLED HEB to ask them about whether they use loyalty cards, and, at least within the last year, they haven't. That's why they have my business and Brookshire's does not.

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3 - anonymous   7 Jun 2010 @ 1:16:55 AM 

Oh get over it. The cards are free. Just because they want to keep track of purchases to see what items you are inclined to buy doesn't make them a horrible company. You are only asked for your thank you card for your own benifit. Heaven forbid the cashiers want to remind you to use it to save on your purchase. Brookshires was one of the last companies to decide to follow the "frequent shopper" card fad. I'm glad you don't shop there. The rest of us don't enjoy hearing people chew out hard working cashiers for doing their job. Like its their fault the company they work for has this particular set up. If you don't want to apply for a FREE card to save money because you're afraid of them knowing what you buy, that's fine, but don't vent to the world about it. We DON'T CARE.

4 - salon   7 Jun 2010 @ 10:21:39 AM 

Didn't say they're a horrible company but I prefer shopping at HEB because they don't have the loyalty cards. I also do not chew out the cashiers if I happen to go into a store that has the cards- I am asked, every time, if I have a card... answer no. .. then asked if I want one.. answer no. That's it. I agree that's their job  to push the cards, and if some don't like it and tell the cashiers so, the company invites it by asking each time. I also don't think it's the cashier's fault, but I equally don't enjoy getting asked every single time. However, I am polite and merely say no, or no, thank you.

I believe that the store that wants people to carry loyalty cards ought to be PAYING the customer to use them. Not by jacking up the prices so that it makes it unpleasant for those who don't want one to shop there, but by allowing the loyal customer to pay LESS than what others pay at fair prices. (You know, prices are jacked up and then brought DOWN to a fair level, is that really a savings?) You may not have an issue with paying regular prices as a trade off for being a marketing shill; fine. Shop where you like. As will I. Here's a comment I agree with.

"What I object to is (the implication that) 'You will give us your data or you will pay more,'" said McArthur. "I find that just coercive and basically unfair."

Under Brookshire's Thank You card policy

Brookshire's values your privacy and will strive to keep your personal information confidential. Your personal information will not be sold or shared for any commercial, advertising, or solicitation purposes. However, the personal information you give will allow you to receive special coupons, offers, and information offered through Brookshire Grocery Company.

and under Card FAQ

Who sees the personal information on the application?

We have a very strict privacy policy and assure you your information will not be sold or shared with anyone outside our company for advertising or solicitation purposes. The information is maintained by the Marketing department and is shared on a very limited basis with key company leaders. Do I have to give my address and phone number to get a card? We need your address and phone number to provide you with offers related to products you routinely buy and to notify you if you have won a sweepstakes. If you do not wish to provide this information, you will not receive offers through the mail.

 Are my purchases recorded?

Shopping transactions are recorded so we may serve customers better and reward them with offers related to products they routinely buy. Card use and shopping habits are normally viewed in groups rather than individually.

Keyword *normally*.... not *only*.

Here's a link to Brooksshire's website privacy policy.

What This Privacy Policy Covers

This Privacy Policy describes how Brookshire treats personal information that Brookshire collects and receives, including information related to your past use of Brookshire products and services. Personal information is information about you that is personally identifiable like your name, address, email address, telephone number, credit card and checking account information, and any information that can be linked to you that is not otherwise publicly available.

Customer Service

Based upon the personally identifiable information you provide us, we will send you a welcoming email to verify your username and password. We will also communicate with you in response to your inquiries, to provide the services you request, and to manage your account. We will communicate with you by email or telephone, as needed.


We store information that we collect through cookies, log files, clear gifs, and other tools to create a “profile” of your preferences. We may tie your personally identifiable information, and your purchasing history, to information in the profile, in order to provide tailored promotions and marketing offers and to improve the content of the site for you.

 Aggregate Information (non-personally identifiable)

We collect, store and use aggregate data that does not contain personally identifiable information, including demographic or statistical information. We may share aggregated demographic information about our user base with our partners and advertisers to help us serve and understand our customers better. This information does not identify individual users. For example we may inform a manufacturer of the number of products that were purchased in aggregate.

 Legal Disclaimer

We reserve the right to disclose your personally identifiable information as required by law and when we believe it is necessary to share information in order to protect the security of the Site, to investigate, prevent, or take action regarding illegal activities, suspected fraud, situations involving potential threats to the physical safety of any person, violations of Brookshire Grocery Company terms of use, or as otherwise required by law (including a subpoena, interrogatory, or discovery request).


If you don't care what I think, then why are you here reading? heh. Or maybe you think YOU can give your opinion but only those who agree with you should express something different. I'm a little amused at your comment.

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5 - Brad Mansfield   7 Jun 2010 @ 10:58:01 AM 

Way to go Salon.......By the way welcome to GR. As long as you agree with everyone you are a great person. But....... start disagreeing or offer a dissenting opinion and watch out. You probably already know this but this applies with not only grocery stores but also to GRISD policies, County policies, City policies the list goes on and on my friend. Keep them on their toes buddy

6 - salon   7 Jun 2010 @ 1:31:08 PM 

@Brad Mansfield. Yup. Gee. I have an opinion. Others do not agree. Maybe I am the ONLY person in the entire world that has this opinion. Does that make it, in this country, unspeakable until/unless I run around and ask everyone first whether a. I am allowed to say what I think b. other people care what I think and c. others agree with what I think? Um. Nope. American Library Association 

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7 - Brad Mansfield   7 Jun 2010 @ 1:52:20 PM 

I agree and thats what I always believed myself. My point was as I am sure you have bound to have noticed that your presence at meetings, making this site available, taking pictures of vehicles parked in fire lanes etc , is that I am sure you have and continue to feel the anger of many many people in the community..... Am I correct ?

8 - salon   7 Jun 2010 @ 2:40:20 PM 

@Brad. Yes, I am certain that there are some who don't like us to speak up. Sometimes someone will attempt to tell us so here, eitther privately (we save identifying information on threats) or  through a transparent attempt to flatter by saying If Only You Would   Most recently, someone attempted to get the official newspaper to speak up against us for open records. I'm pretty sure that was due to this, which was not particularly against that group so much as it was against talking about these matters in executive session. The thing is, I'm not in a popularity contest, not attempting to anger people, but as a taxpayer I am entitled to ask questions about how my money is being spent AND to have a voice in government, however small. If having everyone like you means that government is run with a wink-wink, hearty handshake and slap on the back while doing business behind closed doors or without questions, then I'm not for that.

P.S; You were appreciated for your questions. And really, you are right that running for a school board position is one of responsiblity FOR the taxpayers. You did the right thing.

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9 - salon   7 Jun 2010 @ 2:45:47 PM 

@anonymous-one more thing about the cashiers. One time I was in Brookshire's and was asked, again, if I had a card and if I wanted one. After I said no to both, the cashier attempted to keep on going and try to *sell* me on why I should have one. I wondered if she was getting some kind of spiff for pushing X # of cards. However at that point I told her why I don't like loyalty cards, wasn't yellling, but conversing and expressing my opinion. After all, if someone cannot take no for an answer, then he or she has to expect that that opens the door for a conversation.

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10 - jay   11 Aug 2010 @ 6:15:03 PM  I agree Brookshire's wanting my personal info is wrong. That is how I found this site. I was browsing to see if I was the only person that felt that way. I think I should not be penalized for not wanting a grocery store to have my personal information, email, phone number, etc. and be tracking my buying habits. I seldom shop there, but since the alternative is a very busy Wal-mart, I do occasionaly.

11 - salon   10 Nov 2010 @ 10:20:56 PM 

I have heard that HEB is building a new store that may also include Central Market in Granbury. I really do enjoy the drive to Stephenville, and Granbury is so crowded now, but have to admit it would be worth going to a non-store card grocery of that calibre in Granbury. The person who told me about it said they are building it on the east side of town, off 377, maybe nearer to Acton.

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