Grocery store club cards pose an issue for that privateness-minded: Could it be value a couple of dollars in financial savings to let The shop monitor your buys of TV dinners and home pregnancy checks?

Rob Cockerham, a graphic designer in Sacramento, has decided that the best way to maintain his searching privacy is always to wander away in the group. So he has cloned his discount card and employed his Internet site to recruit a little Military of Rob Cockerhams whom he has unleashed versus the Safeway chain, which has greater than one,650 merchants in The usa and Canada.

His group of about a hundred and eighty card-carrying fellow tourists has utilized Mr. Cockerhams price cut account to ring up much more than $five,000 in buys at much more than fifty various Safeway retailers.

The program was hatched in December, when Mr. Cockerham printed some stickers that carefully replicated the bar code within the again of his Safeway Club card. He then sought recruits via his Web-site, Cockeyed. com, the place he has formulated a next by documenting his wacky science experiments and pranks. Together, he wrote on the location, we would amass a profile of the single best shopper inside the historical past of mankind.

Pasting Mr. Cockerhams stickers more than the bar codes on their own Safeway cards, the shoppers get savings on their own purchases. But Safeways computers peg all of them to his account, compiling a list of his most recent purchasing favorites that he can watch by logging on to Safeways store-from-home web-site.

Thus could he report to his fellow purchasers on Jan. 2: We bought sausage, pudding, Get in touch with lens fluid and condoms yesterday. What a terrific way to kick off the new calendar year!

Mr. Cockerham claimed his caper was not necessarily meant to create a profound statement about privateness. It had been a lot more like, heres a program which i can mess with, and Im likely to mainly because I dont like it, he claimed within an interview.

A spokesman for Safeway, Brian Dowling, explained the card knowledge helps us recognize what our best buyers acquire most frequently, and Best Data Recovery And so the Cockerham clones posed no major menace into the companys databases. Its a novel kind of prank, I suppose. DAVID F. GALLAGHER