It’s been long-awaited, the consistent outcry from locals requesting a free pass to access the Grand Pier has finally been realised. But at what cost for my private data?
Hey! Welcome to my soap box rant. Let’s start by saying that all views expressed are my own from my own experience specifically on the date of 11th October 2020 only and are not intended to defame The Grand Pier. I drafted this blog post last week and mulled over for 7 days before publishing – At 09:17am on 14th October 2020, I called 01934 620238 (to ask how to remove myself from marketing emails and further contact for promotional purposes, because I like to give people a chance) to hear an answerphone message saying that part time hours were in operation. Cool. Understandable when there’s global pandemic pandemonoium occurring everywhere. The message did not say what the opening hours were so instead I sent an email on the 14th. This post will be updated when I receive a reply. Edit:It’s now 2pm on 20th October 2020 and I have not had an email nor had my phone call returned, I thought 7 days may have afforded an opportunity to make contact with me.
At the gift shop, I asked the associate how to apply for my resident’s pass. I was given a sheet with a QR code on to bring up the Google Form to complete. The first thing I noticed was a very intrusive advert at the bottom of the page which was close to the ‘Next’ button. I was trying to avoid this but despite my efforts, I clicked twice on the advert by mistake.
Each time a new window was opened in my phone browser and I was redirected to the advertising companies’ website homepage. I was niggled as I thought this would be a 60-second signup process.
Sighing internally, I continued through the process, one question was “How many members of your household are you registering” so I answered 2, myself and my husband. I had bought all the utility bill documents and passports for us both.
Towards the end of the process I was provided with a checkbox, would I like to be contacted by the pier with Additional Information and offers? No, I don’t. I’m active on social media and if I need to know something I will visit the website or Facebook page. If there’s one thing I hate more than intrusive advertising and online ads, it’s being forced to hand over my data without an instant or same-day opt-out option.
I Thought It Was Overall A Poor User Experience Interrupted With Advertising
A Required Question Means I Had No Choice But To Consent To My Email Address Being Used For Additional Marketing
I would have assumed that a checkbox means that I have the option to be added to a database and email marketing, alas this is not the case. If I wanted my resident’s annual pass then I had to consent to my details being used for outreach marketing. I was forced to check the box whether I wanted to or not.
5: where consented to by you, to send you information by email/post/sms/telephone about existing and new Group products, offers or services that you have requested from us, or that we feel may interest you.
Hang on, I was forced to consent? Further down the page is the following statement:
We make reasonable efforts to follow generally accepted industry standards to protect the Personal Information submitted to us, both during transmission and once we receive it. For example, we have implemented technology (secure servers and firewalls) intended to reduce the risk of accidental destruction or loss, or the unauthorised disclosure or access to such Personal Information, appropriate to the nature of the data concerned.
I Want to Remove My Personal Information From the Grand Pier Database
How to contact us
Grand Pier Limited, Marine Parade, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset BS23 1AL Telephone: 01934 620238 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
My Day Of Registration: Sunday, 11th October 2020
There was a stall outside Costa which had the Pier signs on, it was surrounded with pumpkins and I could see a Halloween promotional sign for Saturday 24th October. I don’t have children so this seemed irrelevant to me, so I continued over the zebra crossing to the Grand Pier entrance. Later, I realised this was my first mistake and could have saved me almost an hour of my time.
There were greeters at the pier entrance, I enquired about the resident’s pass and showed my folder of IDs, I was directed to the turnstiles to tell the attendant I was not to be charged £1 as I wanted to register my details to verify my free annual Pier pass.
These are the steps I completed to register for the Grand Pier Resident’s pass:
- There were only 2 associates on duty, one lady was printing a personalised T shirt, and a gentleman was running between the prize ticket counter and the main cash register. It was very busy.
- I was asked to scan a QR code by the lady associate at the gift shop to go to a Google Form online document to complete. I wasn’t aware of this, I could have saved myself a walk if this was available online so I could complete the form at home. I didn’t see any social media posts with the link to this, however the link is clearly available on the Grand Pier website.
- Once I had navigated through 12 pages of the application and tried to avoid the adverts at the bottom of each page (unsuccessfully) I returned to queue in the gift shop to collect my card
- The wait was an easy 20 minutes when I rejoined the queue. This time the second associate checked my phone and gave me a gift card without checking any of my paperwork.
I hope this information helps you save some time, here’s the link to apply online to save you waiting around with patchy mobile signal at the end of the pier, dodging adverts, and filling out the fields that take a good 10 minutes
Click here to visit the Grand Pier Resident’s Pass Google form to complete at home.
My Paperwork Was Not Checked
My application was now close to 45 minutes, I could have saved time by completing the online questionnaire at home, but instead, I had to log on to my online utility accounts to use my printer to print out a statement with my proof of address. I like to be paper-free so this niggled me again, but whatever, I can recycle the paper afterwards. It’s been a year or more since I logged in so of course, I had to go through the rigamarole process of resetting my password before I could access this.
Then I had to hunt around the house for both of our passports, and gather paper ID and proof of residency for my husband, all of which took 30-40 minutes.
When I had finally completed the process and had my card in my hand, I was not asked for any ID, passports, or paperwork at all.
The lady associate informed her counterpart that he should have asked to see my legal documentation. I thought that this was a result of a lack of training from the Grand Pier, placing staff in positions where they had zero knowledge of procedures. I want to make this clear, this is an observation and nothing more, being that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic and everything!
I pointed out to the male associate that my paperwork also covered my husband, he replied that the application was for one person only. (At this point, I just wanted to leave so I didn’t ask “Why does the application ask how many people are in your household, their names, and date of birth?” but I just left happy that I have my lovely new resident’s pass)
No Hand Hald Scanners
Well, here it is, my Grand Pier card. On the reverse is a barcode to scan. I made my way to the exit and asked one of the gate staff to test my card by scanning it, I was curious to see how many names came up on the POS, just mine, or my husband’s too as per my registration.
I was told “We don’t have a scanner yet” my question in response was “You don’t have a scanner – as in, you personally don’t have a scanner, or is there not one in existence yet?”
He replied “There aren’t any yet” which made me giggle and I was on my way.
When I got home I had an email from Verify My Age which I was unaware my details had been shared with
Looking at their terms and conditions my personal data is now deemed as information to be shared by this 3rd party
Admittedly I wasn’t born a Westonian, but I do consider myself a part of the community having lived here 20 years. I remember the Millenium celebrations and the Y2K bug, the fireworks I bought from Trapnells, and buying fresh crab from the fishmongers on Alexandra Parade.
So, when I saw tweets and Facebook posts about ID verification for an annual free resident’s pass for the Grand Pier at last, I had to do some serious planning.
You see, I’ve been paper-free for around 12 years. I’m an avid recycler, and only have paper statements from companies I use on request. All of my accounts are viewed online.
Coupled with the fact I had to hunt out my passport and print off a utility bill, my preparation took quite a while. I live near Tesco on Station Road, so my walk to register isn’t too far at all, but what I didn’t want to do was to walk down to the seafront then get turned away. I was a woman on a mission.
I used my holiday folder, tucked away safe with my passports (to register for my husband at the same time), and headed on down. On 11th October 2020 a Facebook post seemed to represent the fact that a mascot could sign you up for the coveted resident’s free annual pass for the Grand Pier.
There’s been so much promotion of this inaugural event I really had to be one of the first to sign up, all social media posts seem to be geared for signing up on the high street area. I packed my bag and set off with a purposeful stride and some house music playing on my phone.
Saturday 10th October Facebook post
I was confused by the terms and conditions:
Point 2 is confusing to me, I headed on to the gift shop on the pier, but sign ups were being processed on the High Street.
Point 3 is confusing too, I’m able to choose multiple people from my household, provide names and confidential information (date of birth) but I was told it’s only 1 card per person by the associate in the gift shop. Maybe I’m easily confused – my comments in this blog post are not intended to defame The Grand Pier in any way.
Point 4: If people sign up on the street how many people were able to produce proof of residence? Just wondering, I’m not looking for an answer.