It's Story Time on Company Websites

As retailers increasingly ask customers to share their own tales, this shopper says, "No, thank you."

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Maybe I'm in the minority, but I don't understand the sudden influx of advertisements asking me to share my "story." It's not that I'm a terribly private person—I enjoy a good heart-to-heart—but I don't feel the need to have one with Giant, CVS, or Home Depot, to name a few of the stores who have asked for my "story" in recent months.

In a television ad I saw the other night, Giant, the supermarket chain, told me the story of a young single mom who found great deals at Giant, even on organic produce.

That was nice, I thought; I'm glad she can get her baby the fruit and vegetables she wants. I was ready to move on and go back to watching Grey's Anatomy. But then the advertisement turned its focus from the single mom to me. It told me to go online to share my own story about Giant. The website invited me to post a video or, if I was feeling camera-shy, to write about what the company means to me.

Really? Me? Does Giant really care? I was flattered but not so much so that I shared why I shop there. (If you must know, it is because I enjoy the brightly lit aisles and ethnic food section.) I can barely keep up with the friends I do have; I'm not sure I can handle another, especially one that's a corporate entity.

Giant isn't the only store offering to be shoppers' new best friend. CVS Caremark also asks women to dish online about the ways that they care for others. "We know it's in your nature to care. Now we'd like to hear your story," its website says.

On its site, Home Depot asks, "What story do you have to share?" In television ads and online, one woman, Amy, also a single mom, fights back tears as she tells how she reinstalled the floors with her kids.

According to marketers, women love to hear about others' stories and share their own. When I recently spoke with Marti Barletta, author of Marketing to Women, she said we are fundamentally interested in other people's lives. If the company does a good job, even busy women will make time to go online and share their own story, she says.

I don't think I'll be one of them.

Am I wrong? Are you the kind of person who enjoys sharing your story with companies? Let me know at alphaconsumer@usnews.com.