Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Have You Scanned Your Nectar Card?

This question offends me.  Every time I hear it.  It's insulting and insidious, and here is why.

It comes from the self-checkout machines at Sainsbury's supermarket, if you try to pay without scanning your Nectar card.

The machines at Tesco have a different strategy.  They entreat, "Please scan or swipe your Clubcard."  There is the same intent, the same insistence, the same assumption that I wish to be a part of their covert market research campaign and have simply forgotten.  And this, I don't mind.  Because I am part of the system, I do carry both cards, I will willingly surrender my shopping history in exchange for a minuscule (to the point of being imaginary) discount.

But there is a subtle difference between the two.  Both of these only ask for my identification in the event that I have not already tendered it.  And yet J Sainsbury's have decided to phrase their request in the form of a question.  Not "Do you have a Nectar card?" or "Would you like to scan your Nectar card?" but "Have you scanned your Nectar card?"

Have I scanned my Nectar card?  You know perfectly well that I have not.  If I had, you would not be asking.

I'd much rather use a machine that assumes I am in its club, than a machine that assumes I am not intelligent enough to realise that it is aware of what information I have put into it.

In other news: you kids get off my lawn in my day why I oughtta