I remember back toward the end of high school when grocery store club cards first came out enabling customers to receive discounts in the store without paper coupons. We all joked and laughed how the government would be tracking what we bought.
Well laugh no more!
It turns out that King County government in Washington State (which covers Seattle) started matching up people buying pet food and those that do now have a pet license and sending the citizens mail stating that they will be fined.
RECENTLY, some King County residents received a letter from the government reminding them they are required by law to register their pets. The letter was sent to a mailing list generated by a marketing company that gets its information from various sources, including grocery-store loyalty cards. Wait! The government is contacting people who buy pet food to say they are suspected pet-license scofflaws? What’s next? A letter from the health department noting purchases of ice cream and potato chips?
And from the original Seattle Times article:
“On the outside, it’s stamped ‘Time sensitive. Open immediately,’ and it’s got a pink return address, which usually means something is overdue in payment,” she said.
The writing was terse, “threatening” even, Twadell said.
Heaven forbid buying pet food for a friend!
Twadell called a number on the notice and asked why she received the letter. Grocery-store club cards are tracked, she was told. Twadell recalled buying a dog toy for a friend’s pet and wondered, was Big Brother scanning her grocery list? Not exactly. “We used direct-mail lists,” said RASKC Manager Gene Mueller. “The same way a pet store or veterinarian would.” Here’s what that means: The county hired a Seattle mailing company named Lacy & Par, which retrieved a list of prospective pet owners from another data firm. The county took that list of possible pet owners, compared it against an internal database of licensed pets, and — voilà! — had a list of Fido lovers who might be stiffing the county. Out went the letters
You can expect federal and local governments to ramp up their continue for the hunt for money.by