How did the Apple store get my e-mail address when all I bought was a case for my iPhone? Several readers of this blog pointed out that I gave Apple my e-mail when I registered for iTunes. And that is true. I also now believe that AT&T didn't give my private information to Apple. And here's why I still think it's disturbing.
All I gave the clerk at the Apple store was my credit card. It seems that in order to smooth my customer experience with Apple, the company has linked my credit card number, iTunes account and Apple's wireless point-of-sale check out devices.
What bugs me is that I still haven't been able to wade through the 60-plus pages of license and terms of service that I had to accept to get iTunes and my iPhone activated. I think this is an example of Fleet of Lawyers vs. Average Consumer. Because Fleet of Lawyers works for the Very Large Corporation of America and wants to cross sell and up sell as much as possible, consumers are forced to "agree" to license terms that rival the paperwork associated with buying a home.
In the case of Apple, their products "cross sold" me, in spite of the pool of legalese I had to wade through to get to the service they were selling, and in spite of the privacy that I know I'm giving up in order to use their services.
I feel compelled to answer the reader who asked why I took a bag from the Apple store if I was just going to throw it away. The other half of my Apple Store experience was akin to that of walking into a bank vault. A security guard discreetly directed me to NOT take items from the wall to look at them unless I was accompanied by a sales person. While I was in the store, the anti-theft klaxon sounded twice, for a long time and very loudly. Even the herd of hyper Apple store clerks were looking around for someone to shut the darn thing off. So, after having blithely had my receipt e-mailed to me, it was clear the best way to get out of the stainless steel and glass tank was to put the little case, which I had practically been accused of trying to boost already, in what passed for a legitimate purchase, a store branded bag. Normally, I would decline such a bag. However, the Apple experience isn't really about environmentalism. After all, my iPhone and iPod will both get tossed when the battery gives out because there are no serviceable parts accessible to the user.