The California state supreme court has ruled that retailers can't ask customers for their zip codes. The Los Angeles Times and Associated Press have news stories, but none get into just how ridiculous is the ruling, or the law on which it is purportedly based.
For one thing, if a customer doesn't want to provide the retailer a zip code, the customer can always just refuse and see what happens. I've done this from time to time and I've yet to have my money or payment refused. And if the retailer refuses to close a sale without a zip code, nothing is stopping the customer from walking out of the store and making a purchase instead at some other merchant who demands less personal information.
The law and the ruling advantage online retailers, which ask for zip codes along with shipping addresses and credit card billing addresses, over brick-and-mortar retailers, which don't routinely collect that information.
What's next, barring retailers from asking customers if they can help them find anything in the store?
The hypocritical cherry on the top is that the law and ruling preventing retailers from asking for zip codes do not apply to politicians. Sure enough, this morning, if you go to the Web page of California governor Jerry Brown, JerryBrown.org, one of the first things you are hit with is a landing page that asks for your email address and zip code.