For some years, I've griped about businesses that make me play Twenty Questions rather than simply ring up the transaction.

My e-mail address?  myob@kgb.ru

My zip code?  You're not the post office.

Rewards card?  Isn't it bad enough the government is tracking me?  (This sometimes elicits a chuckle from the counter help.)

Round up to the next dollar for charity?  I'm doing you a favor bringing my business to your store.

Thank you very much.

In so doing, I was continuing a tradition started by Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko, who singlehandedly ended Radio Shack's asking everyone for 'phone numbers.  (I wonder if the sales help ever made unauthorized use of the numbers of dateworthy customers.)

Earlier today, Charlie Sykes devoted most of the 11 am hour of his show to callers venting about this corporate abuse of valued customers.  A few callers expressed their surprise about being able to refuse those requests, or about seeing other people refuse those requests.  And a store clerk noted that yes, it is an added burden to customers.

So, retailers, brace yourself to your duties, and just sell me my stuff.

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