You don’t have to give them your phone number

September 9th, 2007


Has it become automatic to you at Bath and Body Works, etc. to give out your phone number when making a purchase? Are you ever puzzled at the amount of direct mail you receive from businesses you may have shopped at a few times?

The truth is, you can just say, “No thanks.” Most stores use your phone number to look up your address and send you offers and coupons to drive you back to the store. Maybe that’s ok if it’s your favorite store. But maybe you’re buying your cousin’s kid an outfit at Baby Gap. Or you’re purchasing a wedding shower gift from Pottery Barn. You don’t shop at these stores regularly, but if you give them your phone number, you might start receiving offers from them.

The photo above shows about a week’s worth of flyers and catalogs I received in the mail. It’s going to recycling, but I’m trying to become more vigilant about who I give my info to. And I’m going to get off of some mailing lists of places I once made purchases: Ethan Allen, Restoration Hardware, etc. It’s been years since I’ve made a purchase from Restoration Hardware, but they still send me catalogs.

Most of these businesses are more than happy to stop sending you mail if you ask. They don’t want to waste their materials either. On the back of my Ethan Allen catalog, I see a paragraph in bold that reads, “To make the best use of our resources, we want to continue to send you magazines only if you wish to receive them. If you would like to be removed from our mailing list, please let us know at, where you may sign up for our e-newsletters instead.”

Well, yay for them! They not only make the info on how to opt-out easily available, but they also provide an alternative. So, one of my new goals is to look for these alternatives and try to reduce the overall mailings I receive by not giving out my phone number when making purchases.

Now, I’m off to to get off their mailing list.

6 Responses to “You don’t have to give them your phone number”

  1. Jennifer on September 10, 2007 3:51 am

    I always rattle off a fake phone number just for fun and because it’s less work than fighting with the lame cashier — yup that has happened.

  2. chocmoon on September 10, 2007 4:12 am

    Jennifer — I’ve never had a cashier fight with me, but it did happen to my husband. They have no right to insist though. I suppose I still prefer it to a cashier trying to get me to open a credit card. I know it’s not their fault. They are just doing what they are told, but it’s annoying.

  3. Kat on September 10, 2007 1:50 pm

    Great idea to get off those mailing lists. When I am STILL receiving junk mail catalogs from the previous owner of my home.. and I’ve owned it for nearly 3 years! They just don’t stop. I need to get off my rear and start calling some of them. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  4. chocmoon on September 10, 2007 5:42 pm

    You’re welcome Kat! And thanks for stopping by.
    I also found a way to get off Restoration Hardware’s mailing list. You just send them an e-mail. This info is usually under Customer Service.

  5. Wrapping with magazines « Light green stairs on December 9, 2007 6:00 am

    […] However, if you aren’t already on their mailing list, I don’t recommend starting it. (Don’t give them or any retailer your phone number when you make purchases. This is how they find you.) […]

  6. Get rid of unwanted catalogs with Catalog Choice « Light green stairs on February 16, 2008 10:26 pm

    […] may also want to check out my post about giving out your phone number when making purchases in stores. As easy as it may be to get off of mailing lists, it’s […]

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