A reader recently told me that she wasn’t able to print coupons from Coupons.com because her antivirus software said that the printer software was spyware. I also learned that others have had similar problems.
The truth is that these companies make their money from businesses who are trying to get you to buy their products. When the companies spend money to get their coupons to you, they also want information. And they’ll get as much information as they can so that they can continue to target consumers. In some cases, it may just be a zip code or location. In other cases, it could be your age, gender or more.
I can understand why people have their reservations about giving up their privacy in exchange for 50 cents off a tube of toothpaste. But when it comes to consumerism, you’ve already lost your privacy. Every time you purchase something with a debit or credit card, the stores know exactly what you bought, how many, and how much you spent. (How else does Target know to mail you coupons for products you use?). Every free sample you request tells a business that you’re a potential customer of their product.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide how much information you are willing to concede for a good deal. It’s a personal decision that definitely makes you think about “free” stuff.