by Kerry Martin
Just the other week, my husband and I bought a house. Amid the excitement, I was also a little unnerved—not because of the unstable housing market or the feeling of buyer’s remorse—more so because of an email that was waiting for me in my personal Gmail account when I got back to my computer.
Within two hours of becoming a homeowner, I had already landed onto some email list that Restoration Hardware purchased for direct marketing. Had I not just spent every dime I had to get that house, I would have been easily distracted by the inviting email offer for discounted drapery and rugs. But all I could think about was “how did they get my email?!” In all the paperwork I signed, I did not list my personal email anywhere, and I haven’t ever actually shopped at Restoration Hardware.
I have to hand it to them—this is actually an ingenious marketing campaign to get to the consumer at the right time—just when they’ve made a complementary purchase. However, the creep factor of how they obtained this information is still a little unsettling. If Restoration Hardware has some deal with mortgage brokers or real estate agents to capture personal information upon closing, does Zales pass along their customers’ data to wedding planners? Will Babies “R” Us soon be able to buy patient emails from obstetricians?
What do you think? Have you come to the point where you don’t care what “they” know about your buying habits, or does this start to feel a little too “1984” to you?
*Restoration Hardware actually started in 1979 according to Wikipedia.