So last night I was doing some shopping here in Oneonta and was asked the common question that stores are always asking now, especially chain retail stores: “What is your ZIP code?” I have never hesitated to give it out until now.

After doing a little research about this question and reading an article on about why stores ask for our ZIP code, I discovered that it’s used for a number of things. Yes, it’s for marketing purposes and that’s what they’ll tell you at the store, if you ask them, but that ZIP code can also help the retailer figure out your address, phone number and past purchasing details. The sales clerk has to make note of your whole name while swiping your credit card though. All that data is collected for a marketing database.


So if you don’t want to be a marketing target, just refuse to give your ZIP code when shopping. Although you should be aware that not all places that ask for a ZIP code have an agenda to get your information. Some just want to know where their visitors are coming from and don’t bother gathering any added data.  If you are concerned how your ZIP code will be used, just ask and then determine from there whether to give it out or not.

More From WZOZ