People like you bought whatever we’re pushing this week

Tesco causes couple condom catastrophe | The Register

“I couldn’t believe what I saw when I logged onto my Tesco account,” said Newby. “It gives a list of everything bought on a club card and there at the top of the list was a packet of Mates condoms. I knew I hadn’t bought them so I went in and accused Andy, who had no idea what I was talking about.”

Tesco admitted its grievous love-endangering rubbery fubar and sent the couple £100, along with a letter of apology from Chief Exec Sir Terry Leahy saying that the mistake was “completely unacceptable”.

Tezza explained that the um, cock-up was the fault of a new member of marketing staff who was pushing the bed balloons as a promotional item. This would have been fine, but nothing explaining the promotional status of the item showed up when it snuck onto Allot’s faves and blended in with his own choices.

I’ve always had my suspicions about the various lists at shopping sites or on my Tivo that purport to suggest what I might be interested in based on my selections so far and the ones of people like me, But this incident pretty much makes it clear how far a company is willing to go to push product regardless of user preference.

(And of course these lists are also accessible to third parties either as marketing partners or as the result of court orders, so just watch the fun.)

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