Staff Editorial

Banning asking for zip codes: seriously now?

Last week the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that it is illegal for retail stores to request customer zip codes during a transaction.

Stores such as Wal-Mart, Target and Macy’s that have been collecting the information are now facing multiple lawsuits.

The court claims that it is unnecessary information and since it is part of the customer’s address, it is against the state consumer privacy law.

The reasoning is that the information is private and the stores have no right to request it as you check out.

The state’s ruling could roll over into other states — affecting millions. Consumers shouldn’t be enraged that stores are asking for the information, but instead should be more informed about why they are requesting the it in the first place.

Zip codes can be used as a security measure to ensure a credit card holder’s identity. The billing information cannot be found anywhere on the credit card, making it more difficult for you to be subject to fraud.

Additionally, stores use the information to help them decide where there is a need to open a new store. If there’s an increase from certain zip codes, it could lead to a more convenient location for you.

It seems that lately there has been an outcry for privacy protection, specifically from social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. When websites, apps and advertisers pull your personal information, people tend to protest.

Everyone should stop and look at the bigger picture. When these places pull your age, gender, tastes and friends, they are using it to present you with personalized advertisements.

If you play Farmville, maybe you’ll like Cityville. If you’re a 20-year-old female, maybe you want a coupon for a designer dress as opposed to 50-year-old man who wouldn’t care. Instead, they can offer you something that you might actually want.

In a time where everyone wants things quickly and personalized, such tailored marketing and advertisements would better serve our needs and interests.


  • If a store can't ask for a Zip Code, but can still ask for an address….what's the difference? I would have rather like to see that the Court outlawed having to provide Social Security or Driver's License numbers for store credit, both of which can be used to commit ID theft far more easily than by lifting someone's Zip Code.

    • if you dont want them to check your ID don't use credit. I would rather have them check and make sure its me than to have some one who stole my credit card get away because of some stupid law that says they can't check.

  • I'm not going to let advertising motivate me to be a better consumer. I'll give them a fake zip and delete my cookies thank you.

  • They ask for my zip code even when I pay cash, and I pay cash everywhere. THAT is why I make sure not to tell them.

    We are not numbers, we are people. Act like it.

  • Wow I can't believe how dumb people have become. I am in Marketing and at least where i work the only things that zip code is used for is demographics to see if people are traveling out of area to shop at our stores. Then we are able to see if we might want to expand to that area so the customers don't have to drive clear accross town thus making shopping more conveniant and for sales tax because different countys have different tax rates. 30,000 other people share that same zip code so how ignorant do you have to be to think that i can get all your information just by your zip code. If i wanted to mail you i would have to mail all 30,000 people that have that same zip code.

  • My Favorite is when you people complain about your zip code then you pay with a Check now i have all your information and you were worried about your zip code that you share with thousands of other people come on people we have bigger problems to worry about than a shared zip code. have you ever googled yourself its amazing how much you can find so to be rude and ignorrant over your zip code that is the same as thousands of others is stupid. now a phone number yes is personal and i would never give that out. and if you have baught online you give all your information so to give a zip-code is nothing to be an ass-hole over to a cashire

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