Center Parcs 2021 – Day Four – You are the Machine

One of the most annoying things, for me, about Center Parcs is being constantly asked “what’s your lodge number?” when going to pay for anything. It reminds me of being in a duty free shop at the airport and always being asked your flight number. They do this for exactly the same reasons – marketing analytics.

With the flight there is at least a small amount of anonymity because they only have your flight number (and credit card number too I suppose) but at Centre Parcs the lodge number narrows it down to a very small number of people. From this information they are collecting they will be able to determine that 50 something males like Crunchie ice creams.

You are probably wondering why I don’t just refuse or say “can I ask why you need that information?” but experience tells me that a) they look at you as if you are some sort of weirdo and b) the cashier usually has no idea why they are asking for it other than they have been TOLD they need to ask for it. Another reason why I now (more often than not) simply comply is also because my family don’t like it when I “make a fuss”. I would simply give a lodge number that’s not ours but they have clearly worked this out as they often ask for the booking surname too.

I don’t know what it is that asking for this simple piece of information makes me bristle but it does. I think that partly it is because it has zero value to me to give it so why should I? Also it is asked so innocently but conceals a hidden purpose that isn’t made clear. It is a bit like the practice where you are now asked in a shop “would you like the receipt emailed?” without being told that they’re going to spam the hell out of you.

I suspect that much of this is becuase of the nature of the job I do which involves protecting the anonymity of individuals so I am hyper-sensitive to it. While it is annoying it doesn’t, fortunately, affect my enjoyment of the holiday, despite what you might think reading this!