Parking Lot Price Switch

I saw this story online this morning and was shocked; but, not surprised! Here’s the crux: “If you allow Target to track your phone location, the app will switch certain prices from online to in-store.” (kare11) Watch the sneakiness in action below (16 seconds) then come back for tips on how to stop this from happening.

Think of the switching point like an invisible dog fence. Once you cross it (and enter Target’s vicinity) the price shown for a particular item (even if you Google it in store); will automatically adjust to the higher “in store” price. In some cases the prices per item can be DRASTIC $100+).

KARE 11 did an experiment to see if all of this is true. They looked at 10 different products and compared the prices offered on the Target app when they were away from the store and prices on the app when they entered the store. Between all 10 of the items, it would have saved them $262 to purchase these items from the back of the parking lot as opposed to purchasing them while in the store. $262! One of the products they looked at, a Dyson vacuum, jumped $148 after entering the store.

How to stop this from happening? Turn off Target’s ability to track your location. If you’re an iPhone user, go to Settings ==> Privacy ==> Location Services ==> Target (set this value to Never). While you’re at it, turn everything else you don’t need off as well. Sure, it can be convenient to find the nearest store, etc. but as we can see with this story, these features may come at an expense. If you’ve purchased any large items from Target lately, take advantage of their price match policy (14 days) to see if you can save a few bucks. Best Buy, Macy’s, Best Buy and Wal-Mart’s apps don’t currently do this. Also keep in mind the price difference could be the other way around. If you’re purchasing large items, do your research!!!

Full story below (worth watching!). 



Online Tracking

Have you ever wondered how a website (i.e. Facebook) knows what you searched for on another website, (i.e. Macy’s)? Yahoo Tech explains the fundamentals of Online Tracking. Loosely, 

“First, When you visit a visit a Web site that contains ads, those ads leave behind text files on your computer called ‘tracking cookies’. These files contain a combination of letters and numbers — kind of like a license plate on steroids — that identify your particular browser on your particular computer. Next, When you visit a new Web page, the machines that deliver ads check your cookies, find your unique ID, and record information about your online behavior.”

urlThis is exactly  what the term Targeted Advertising means: The ads  (or pop-ups) you see are personalized based on what you do online – your search history. Chrome, Google, Safari all know your likes and dislikes because you have told them! Yes, your browser is stalking you. Yes, your browser is stalking you. Yes, your browser is stalking you. The next obvious question is, Why do we see ads on (almost) every site? Money, of course! The people who place those ads and successfully “target” or “lure” you into re-visiting the site where you saw that handbag get paid – for every click and even more for every purchase! There are no ads on because I am not running this site for monetary gain – at the moment, it’s a just hobby.

Lots of people use browser ad-ons like AdBlock Plus to prevent this type of tracking – just be aware that AdBlock may also prevent pop-up windows on sites like banks and that you’ll have to manually check the option to “Always Allows” pop-ups from these sites. Often times there are options to “opt-out” ads if you look closely (just like the Unsubscribe feature most people miss at the very bottom of emails.