Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Eeee. Coliiiiii

I got a call from an unknown number on my cell phone last week.
I could tell right away that it was a computer, and I almost hung up—and then I didn't. Curiosity, I suppose, because it didn't sound like a recording I had heard before. (I get these scam calls all the time about my car warranty about to run out or a special offer on my mortgage or other such nonsense)

It was Smith's calling me to tell me that the the Ball Tip Steak, Petite Cut or Lean 85/15 Ground Beef ST or Ground Beef (Not to Exceed 15% Fat) or Cube Steak or Beef for Stew or Beef for Fondue or Beef Fajita Meat or Beef for Stir Fry—seriously it went on and on like this—was recalled by the company that provided the beef because it was possibly contaminated with E. Coli.

Well isn't that dandy? I got the call Friday—I had already eaten the beef I purchased at Smith's on Father's Day. Referring to the list (I wanted to recreate the situation for you, you know where it went on and on about all the products that I possibly purchased, so I looked up the recall) I'm noticing that the type of beef I purchased isn't even there. Hmmm.

The Recording proceeded to tell me that if I had any questions I could call a number—then rattled off the number before I could get a scrap of paper—then, did not repeat the number and hung up.

In locating the list of products above I found that the Number was 1-800-632-6900—which I noticed (when looking in my phone to try and figure out when I got the call) is the same number from which I was called.

At the time I looked up the recall—but could only find general information, not the detailed list I just located and pasted above. So then I looked up what I could find on E. Coli—I don't really store away in my brain what all this stuff does to you. Apparently E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, seniors and people with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to food borne illness. How Pleasant.

The only reason they called is because I used my Fresh Values Card to get a better price and they tracked my purchase with that—I hate "Big Brother" but I'm a cheap penny-pincher.

I'm happy to report that we are not sick. Today is day ten since the consumption of the possibly contaminated product. So if symptoms don't manifest today—we're in the clear.

Just so you know the E. stands for Escherichia


  1. I wondered if they'd use Fresh Values to contact people who'd purchased the effected beef.

    Big brother it may be, but I'm in the data business. I love data. With linear algebra we can figure out things we'd never figure out people who tend to buy Oranges are more likely to also purchase...Nacho Cheese Doritos. Ok, made up example, but's fascinating stuff.

    Of course then they use it to deliver...targeted advertising! But hey, if I am getting special offers for products I am likely to buy, where's the harm in that?

    The Target curve-fitters though (That's finding patterns in noise...or finding trends in tons of data), they don't do so well. It seems I'm always getting offers for weird products I'd just never user.

  2. I had no idea what the E stood for.
    I like how the cartoon turned out!

  3. Oh, I understand how cool data is. I've been playing with Google Analytics and watching the traffic on my blogs. I can see Countries, Network Names, Operating System, Browser, Keywords used, connection speed, screen resolution, etc. etc.

    To me all that data is fascinating, and it's all completely anonymous. I have no Idea who the person is that visited the site from the TCT West Inc. network. If not for that anonymity I'd be freaked out.

    Then again, with the right search warrant, or carefully executed social engineering someone may be able to obtain the data sans anonymity filter applied. That is scary.

  4. I think I'm a little bit hungry now

  5. This is funny. Guess you'll have to wait 3-5 days before you eat your meat.