In an interesting case, outlined in TIME magazine, a father complained that Target was marketing baby related items to his high-school aged daughter. As it turns out, the retailer’s analytics had accurately revealed that his daughter was indeed pregnant – but he did not yet know this. And how did they know? Well, a certain group of items purchased together give clues about what’s happening in a given person’s life. Target can track purchases with a unique number assigned to each shopper – tied to their debit and credit cards. Ah. But there’s more. Realizing that customers might be creeped-out to learn how much information is collected, Target can mask their true intent by including random coupons for blow dryers, for example, alongside coupons for say, diapers. And ultimately, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing that retailers collect information. It’s just that shoppers’ habits alone can tell much more about them than they realize.