Retail loyalty program can't tell a dog from his owner

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Posted: Friday, July 5, 2013 12:00 am

Ike “Dog” Podsada was never able to pick up his insulin or syringes at the local CVS store, so it was my job to do so.

Once my dog Ike was diagnosed with diabetes – yes, dogs and cats get diabetes – the discount offers I received from CVS changed dramatically.

Gone were the coupons for $3 off fish oil and Pantene shampoo, stuff I actually used.

Suddenly, I was inundated with promotions for glucose meters and diabetes test strips, which neither me nor Ike, whose prescriptions were issued under the name Ike “Dog” Podsada, had a use for. (The veterinary clinic monitored his glucose level every four months.)

Retailers have been increasingly using computerized data systems to track customer purchases and create rewards programs, as we report today in the World-Herald.

But sometimes, they get it wrong.

The CVS loyalty card was in my name, but another member of my household, Ike, had emerged as the target of their offers.

I'm pretty sure the software program that was tracking my CVS purchases never knew Ike was a dog.

And asking for Ike “Dog” Podsada's meds was no picnic either. I got the cool eye of disdain from a CVS pharmacy intern until I explained the insulin, which was the same brand humans use, was for my 11-year-old rat terrier.

He broke into an embarrassed smile and said, “I thought you were some mean lady that had named her son 'Dog!'”

Ah, no.

Eventually, I switched pharmacies and my CVS coupons returned to “normal” after about a year: vitamins, conditioner – stuff I actually used.

Also read: Using a store's rewards program? You're revealing a lot

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