Morally grey area when getting customer info

I put in my notice at Old Navy, so I feel more inclined to speak up because that place is terribly managed. On to the issue…

So ON really puts the pressure on us to get customers to sign up for rewards and credit cards. For rewards, the info we take is name, number, and email. So the managers now want us to ask for the customers name without asking “do you want to sign up for the rewards program?” because people say no. I asked if this was even legal, and was lectured by a manager about how it is perfectly legal and that its not even morally wrong because the customer can still say no. But in my mind they want us to trick people and I’m just not comfortable with that. I tried to explain myself but the manager wouldn’t really let me speak. So I just made faces at her from under my mask and went on with my day. But I’m annoyed because I feel like you need consent prior to inputting someone’s info. I also try to look at it from the customers POV which I don’t think the managers care about. Some people might not understand it’s optional and some might just be too nervous to ask or say no.

Several of my coworkers agreed with me, so I’m curious what everyone else’s thoughts are.


My response would be to ask why they needed that information. It really wouldn’t matter what they answered, I’d decline to give it. I’d also find somewhere else to shop.


I’d think it would be incredibly weird for a cashier to ask for my name when I was paying. I’m not sure if I’d connect it with something the store demanded him/her to do, because they usually never ask you to sign up here. It’s usually only “do you have a store card”, but never actually promoting it


I realized I didn’t explain it very well…this is what they want to happen:

Me: please enter your phone number into the pin pad for rewards
Customer: enters number
Me: I see you’re not a reward member. Can I get your name?

How I do it:
Me: please enter your phone number into the pin pad for rewards
Customer: enters number
Me: I see you’re not a reward member. Would you like to sign up?

So we are already talking about rewards, but I think it’s both rude and misleading to not give the customer a clear place to decline.


Well, that’s a bit different :slight_smile: Just asking for the name seems so out of the blue, but totally like a trap a store would set


This kind of trickiness is called a “Dark pattern” (Wikipedia).

Presumably you’re meant to get enough data to sign up the customer to a credit card, and then ask if they want the “reward”. If they say no, clearly the temptation is there on you, the clerk, to sign them up anyway, which is how you get your reward.

Which I think is basically what happened recently in the “Wells Fargo account fraud scandal” (Wikipedia).

I might have this wrong, but individual clerks were executing the fraud, but the company was taken to the cleaners because their dark pattern made clerks do that.

Taking customers’ personal data without a legitimate reason is not illegal in most of the U.S. or businesses wouldn’t be doing it. It is illegal in Europe.

So it isn’t us here that you should be reporting it to. Try some regulator probably, but also, I expect that the cards actually are supplied by a separate company in finance and they won’t want to be the next Wells Fargo. Unless they are Wells Fargo.


Yeah exactly this. It’s not illegal in the US but certainly amoral and illegal elsewhere under GDPR etc.

I hate when I go shopping and apropos of nothing they ask for a zip code or a phone number. Why do you need that to take my cash? You have to refuse or ask why to learn that it’s to sign you up for “rewards” (read: junk mail) or to collect your data for a customer profile or similar.

It sucks because it is deceptive and requires the customer to opt out instead of opting in. But with very weak privacy laws in the US I’m afraid there’s not much you can do and it’s not in the company’s interest to be good about customer privacy in this case.