As you do your holiday shopping, consider that stores already know what you're going to buy before you walk in.
Data mining is the new way retailers are getting an advantage and it's about knowing all about you.
It's taking that old business motto of "knowing thy customer" to a whole new level. Software-savvy retailers are tracking what you buy so they know what you'll shop for before you step foot in their store.
"You may not realize it, but every time you use your credit card, that’s a transaction and what’s on it is your name, what you bought and when you bought it and how much you spent. They can compare that amongst their stores and really track what is being bought," said Burt Lum, Internet technology consultant.
Data mining is the practice of collecting information from your credit card purchases, loyalty cards, social media and websites that help retailers get a good idea of your buying behavior.
Those coupons and special discounts? They're enticing you with what retailers think you'll be interested in before you shop.
"It really kind of boils down to the retailers finding a little more intelligence about the buying habits of their customers that gives them a little bit of an edge," said Lum.
Say you're not a fan of being tracked?
"Then, of course, don’t use your credit card, don’t use loyalty cards and ultimately when you end up paying for stuff, you may want to consider paying in cash," said Lum.
But, we are in the 21st century and experts said the practice of data mining will only grow -- after all, it equals billions of dollars for retailers.
So shopping with a following? Get used to it.