Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Other Me

Confession, of a sort. I am, to a small degree, an identity thief. So to speak.

Here's the story-

Safeway has those club cards, or whatzits, you know the deal. I had applied for one a long time ago, and a slightly shorter time ago I lost that card. That's pretty common-they let you put your phone number in lieu of the card.

Here's where it gets tricky. I used to not have a phone. None what so ever. It was a bill I couldn't and didn't want to maintain. I didn't care. I did have phone numbers fleetingly-I'd get a pager for a couple of months or move into a place that had a phone or whatnot. But when I lived by myself I had a phone for a very short period of time before I didn't. Though that didn't stop my phone from ringing one day asking me to take a survey. As an exchange for taking the survey I asked the guy what number he dialed. Until the phone company killed the line all together, I had a phone number. I couldn't call out without a calling card, but people could call me.

So fast forward again to the Safeway Card. I knew I had one a long time ago but didn't know which number I had given-I often give long since dead phone numbers on things for several reasons, some good, some bad. So, at the register with only enough to cover the sale price but not enough time on my break to create a new card I started entering numbers that I had until one worked. The phantom number worked.

I figured that was the number I gave and started using it when I bought stuff at Safeway. That is, until the cashier stumbled through trying to pronounce the name she thought I had. Turns out that the phantom number had been reassigned to someone who also had a Safeway card. Rather than getting a new one I just decided to reassure my checker that how ever they decided to pronounce the name was indeed correct and bail.

But as I used my last five bucks (and 'borrowed' Safeway Card) today I looked down at the receipt-sometimes I try to make a go at pronouncing my benefactors name-and looked at the buying stats. It seems that my alter ego likes the Safeway sandwiches and occasions the Safeway Starbucks.

I've eaten a fair share of sandwiches at Safeway, but not common enough for me to care about the sandwich club deal, so I've never noticed. But I wonder if my 'card buddy' does-does he notice that he got to the free sandwich faster than he should? Does he even notice? Maybe he's as cavalier about the sandwiches, too. Maybe he, too, doesn't notice. I wonder what the marketing for him looks like, do I skew him-him me?

I think I might start tracking my grocery doppleganger. I don't mind that my shopping reaps him some awards, it seems a fair exchange for me not having to fill out a new form and remember what phone number I gave.


  1. My guess is that your doppelganger will never notice unless you cash in on the free sandwich and he/she thinks they have it coming. Then it might get ugly.

  2. I have to admit that the thought did cross my mind, when I noticed he was one sandwich away from a free one.

    Though, maybe he's not the one who buys sandwiches. I've been 'him' long enough that maybe it was me that bought all those sandwiches. Though I doubt it, since I don't use the card unless I absolutely will get a discount, and sandwiches are hardly ever on sale.

    I wonder how vigerous they would be in hunting me down. It wouldn't be hard, more often than not I use my check card to buy my groceries. It's only when I don't that the checker tries to call me by my doppleganger's name.

    If it weren't for this giant confession I guess I could try and play innocent...