Woman Receives Free Baby Formula Amid Shortage One Week After Buying Walgreens Pregnancy Test
A woman believes Walgreens may have sold her data to Enfamil after she mysteriously received a package of free baby formula — in the middle of a shortage, no less — just one week after buying a pregnancy test from the pharmacy.
Her tweets about the confusing experience went viral on Twitter over the weekend.
"Dear @Walgreens, I received this package today a week after purchasing a pregnancy test at your store. I was asked to take the test by my doctor despite having no fallopian tubes," Nicole (a.k.a. @melancholynsex) wrote on Twitter.
Nicole, who used her Walgreens rewards card while checking out, believes Enfamil may have been given access to her personal purchase information via her rewards member profile.
In a follow-up tweet, Nicole blasted Enfamil for "sending out formula all willy-nilly based on the data" they allegedly received amid a baby formula shortage.
She also pointed out how upsetting receiving a free package of baby-related goods might be for someone who is "desperately trying to get pregnant" but can't.
"Wouldn't this be a kick to the face?" she asked.
Nicole also brought up the implications of potentially sending such a package to someone in an abusive relationship.
"Try this one on: I’m in an abusive relationship and my partner intercepts this package. Well, now what?" she tweeted, adding how harmful selling private pregnancy test purchase data could be for people "in states where abortion is now illegal."
"Are you trying to make a political statement, or is this just a big money grab?" Nicole asked Walgreens and Enfamil.
"I am aware that our data is bought and sold, especially through the use of rewards cards, but this is a lot bigger than sending me a coupon in the mail," she continued in another tweet.
Walgreens claims they did not sell or provide Nicole's data to a third-party company.
"The privacy of our customers is important to us. We did not provide individual customer purchase information to Enfamil," the official Walgreens Twitter account responded in a tweet.
Nevertheless, Nicole's experience struck a nerve on Twitter. Her initial tweet about the matter was retweeted over 33,000 times.
In the comments, many Twitter users were left questioning consumer privacy and corporate integrity, while some revealed they, too, had been sent similar packages.
"I'm a man, and I received this box in the mail," one user tweeted.
"My nine-year-old son goes to get the mail and comes in with a can of baby formula. He then asks if there is something that I'm not telling him. This is how my son found out he was going to be a big brother. This was not how I planned on telling him," another user wrote in a since-deleted tweet.
Meanwhile, others wondered if they might be able to game the system to receive free baby formula to send to people in need.
"Maybe we should all buy pregnancy tests using loyalty cards so we can be sent these to give to people in need? Then return the unopened tests in a few weeks? Use their data mining against them?" one user suggested.
Twitter's concerns about data mining are valid.
Recently, many businesses and retailers have faced backlash for issues related to consumer privacy. And in states where abortions are now illegal, the threat of selling or sharing data poses a huge concern for people with the capacity to get pregnant.
Following the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the privacy of period-tracking apps such as Flo and Clue has been called into question. Some experts advise that individuals who use period-tracking or similar health apps be aware of what information they share on these platforms, as well as who has access to that information.