Jen and I were in Kansas City for a convention when Jen decided to exchange some newborn-size diapers for a larger size. Unfortunately, we’d left the receipt at home (because we don’t make a habit of carrying around receipts for every bit of baby gear we take with us) and that completely flummoxed the Wal-Mart staff.

When all was said and done, I had to give them my driver’s license so that we could make the 26-cent swap between two unopened, undamaged packages of baby diapers. I gritted my teeth and managed not to say anything that would get me banned from the store, although I was so tense that I signed the exchange form hard enough to shred it.

And this is why I think that I probably now officially hate shopping at Wal-Mart. We weren’t trying to exchange a plasma TV or a box of donuts. We just wanted to trade up to a larger size of diapers, and this ended up requiring my driver’s license and a signature.

What I should have done — and what I’d love to see everyone doing — is to ask politely for a printed copy of their corporate privacy policy. After all, some stranger is entering my personal identification information into a computer for some unknown purpose, and I think I have the right to know why they’re doing it, how long they plan to keep it, and what their policy and mechanisms are for protecting it in the meantime.

Besides, even if I never read the thing, I’ll know that it cost Wal-Mart far more than $0.26 to print and hand-deliver the document to me. Sometimes just the satisfaction of knowing that their stupid, anti-customer policy costs them more than they made off the transaction makes it a little more tolerable.