It is now a reality that you could be paying a higher price than the person behind you on that grocery store queue even if you may have the same quantity and brands of groceries.

Discounted prices are increasingly being availed only to those ‘loyal’ customers who have a grocery store loyalty card. While the concept of price discrimination is not new, grocery stores are coming up with ways to take it a step further. You may not get that discounted price simply because you have the store’s loyalty card, but your purchase habits are another key factor.

The grocery store loyalty cards are intended to reward a customer’s loyalty, but are also used to track your spending habits and profile you for their marketing campaigns. Many people have taken up the loyalty cards in a bid to take advantage of special and personalized prices on certain products they desire to buy, but privacy concerns have been raised. Some still fear that their personal and other details are in someone’s hands and may be used against them or fall into the wrong hands. The privacy problem is one of the fears that consumers are wary of and has kept some consumers away from taking up the cards.

Is it wrong then to suggest that there some people who are purchasing more or changing their spending habits simply because they fear being locked out of lower personalized prices, which will end up in them paying higher grocery bills? For some, purchasing of more products from the same retail store is not done out of loyalty or need but because they want to maintain a certain marketing profile to continue getting those low prices.