Joining the Club

Safeway Club card

"Need some help out to your car with those bags, Mrs. Glenn?" the checkout clerk asks.

It always takes me a minute to realize that I'm now Mrs. Glenn, Mrs. John Glenn, instead of Ma'am. An astronaut's wife. It makes me stand up just a little straighter.

"Oh, no. No problem," I tell him. He's already settled the tomatoes and eggs near the bottom of a bag. No need to have him pilot a supermarket cart out on the open asphalt. He'd probably catch air on the speed bump.

"Okay then, Mrs. Glenn. Have a nice evening."

I'm getting used to being Mrs. Glenn. It's the name on my Safeway Club card. Initially I resisted. No Safeway Club card for me. Forget it. They're not going to track my buying habits and stow them away in some enormous data warehouse. No data mining algorithm's going to unearth nuggets from my most private behavior as a consumer: It's nobody's business if I want to subsist on Cheerios and Wild Turkey during months that begin with the letter "J". Nobody's business at all.

Now it's Mrs. Glenn who has no secrets. Her wobbly-wheeled shopping cart is an open book.

Yes, I resisted the Safeway Club card at first. I held my head high as I paid $4.99 for Wheat Chex ($3.00 more than those who sold out to the Club). Was that a 40 ounce bottle of Heinz Catsup for only $1.59 with the card? My will was eroding. I'd save 15 dollars if I bought the 5 box limit of Pepcid AC right this minute using my hypothetical Club card. And I'll need all 5 boxes if I really eat Wheat Chex with catsup on them.

So not long ago, fingers a-tremble, I penned in the answers to the questions on the application form. That's how I became Mrs. Glenn, proud Club member. Shouldn't I be buying Tang?

I fetishize my privacy. Or so I'm told.


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