What Product Is Currently Stalking You?


You know that great Motown song by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas? “Nowhere to Run?”

That’s me — but it’s not heartbreak I’m running from-it’s a pair of beige patent leather sling backs, size 9. Wherever I go on line, there they are, like an old boyfriend begging for a second chance. The same pair of shoes has been dogging me for more than seven months.

At Marketplace, Beth Teitell writes about being stalked by a pair of shoes she looked at once online, which has been following her around in ads targeted to her on various websites she visits.

Back in September, Times financial columnist and CNBC co-anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote an ode to his undershirt, which I read somewhat with amusement and somewhat interested in what kind of undershirt would receive such attention from Sorkin. That undershirt is my current stalker.

Photo Benedict Benedict

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43 Comments / Post A Comment

Caitlin with a C (#3,578)

Ooh, I feel you on this. I am being stalked by an iPhone case from Fossil that has the constellations on it. I do not have an iPhone. I clicked the link from a “great gifts for your tech geek siblings” listicle and then concluded it was, in fact, not a great gift for either of my tech geek siblings.

I am ashamed to admit that I went through a brief period of being stalked online by ren faire corsets. I am glad that that period of my life (the stalking) is behind me.

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@Caitlin with a C Next next great innovation in ad tracking needs to be separating your shopping for gift shopping so that our relatives tastes don’t take over our online lives. Also thumbs up for your avatar obviously.

Caitlin with a C (#3,578)

@EvanDeSimone Argh. The corset was supposed to be a gift too! I get stalked by two things: 1) potential gifts and 2) work shoes. This is especially unhelpful for when I am shopping for gifts for my live-in SO and he is looking at Facebook with me or something, and the sidebar happens to be all ads for things that I was thinking about buying as presents for him.

…and yeah, it seemed like time for an avatar. Given that I know at least one of my coworkers Billfold-s, I’d rather be identified by my love for Earl Grey than, say, by my face.

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

I bought the soundtrack to Frozen for my youngest cousin and am currently being followed around the internet by a swarm of Disney princess memorabilia.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@EvanDeSimone The mental picture of you being swarmed by the Disney princesses like a swarm of angry hornets has made my morning.

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@andnowlights Glad I could help.

amglory89 (#3,588)

@EvanDeSimone so you’ve been listening to the soundtrack from frozen for how many days now ;) “young cousin”… Haha.

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@amglory89 Not guilty this time! This was for a legitimate child. I did however find an S Club 7 CD while cleaning my room so I don’t really have a lot of ground to stand on here.

RiffRandell (#4,774)

1) Art deco inspired jewelry
2) Vineyard Vines sweaters
3) A variety of products I will eventually buy for my horse
4) More preppy clothing adds
5) Dating sites (I don’t use any, but am single)
6) Conference I had to attend for work

punzy (#160)

Books I have looked at at amazon or barnes and noble but not yet purchased. And Bravissimo/Pepperberry a clothing store for busty women, which I don’t mind as that is pretty much where my clothes come from these days.

guenna77 (#856)

crate and barrel laundry brush that i looked at on a whim. it’s followed me everywhere, including facebook. and anything i look at on zappos tends to turn up.

what bothers me is the incongruity of seeing something like a pair of boots popping up next to something supremely unrelated. like if i’m reading a news article about something serious or tragic and the ad next to it is like, “this is all well and good, but are you SURE you don’t want to go back and buy this expensive purse?”

My ex-boyfriend and I almost got engaged 3 years ago and “Unique Engagement Rings” has been following me on the reg since then. Also I’m pretty sure “Meet Christian Singles!” follows me because of the atheist blogs in my Feedly. Targeted ads are a cruel riddle.

Stina (#686)

@JesusMaryandOprah! Ooh your targeted ads are acting like a clueless relative! First asking when you and so and so are going to get married, then after being reminded of the cancelling offering a useless suggestion to get yourself a man.

FYI: It’s obvious from my weekend check-ins I’m religious but even if I wasn’t married I wouldn’t use a “Christian Singles” site either.

honey cowl (#1,510)

@JesusMaryandOprah! Sighhhh. I get that too. Is it because we’re women of that age maybe? My BF never gets them although according to the cultural narrative he will be the one purchasing the ring…

garli (#4,150)

I love when shoes are stalking you long after you have already bought them from another (cheaper) site.

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@garli There needs to be a way to say “I already own this”

garli (#4,150)

@EvanDeSimone Right? Pretty sure netflix has a similar button.

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@garli The best thing netflix ever did was create multiple user profiles so I no longer see my roommates movie reccomendations.

garli (#4,150)

@EvanDeSimone Oh god I would have loved that when I had the “there’s no such thing as a bad romantic comedy” roommate. Now it’s just my husband and I’m pretty sure Netflix is like “ok, which of you assholes is watching Battlestar Galactic for the 10th time from start to finish?”

a bag from Nordstrom’s that my roommate Blair bought a week ago is stalking me in Facebook ads. I think she must have sent me the link to show me when she bought it, but its strange.

lemonadefish (#3,296)

Jessica Simpson leopard print maternity underpants.

chic noir (#713)

@lemonadefish -OMG!

The real tragedy is that the shoes following her are beige patent leather. Gross.

Stina (#686)

(NOTE : I get that people are not a product but the ads are certainly treating them like they are.)

Meet Asian females.

I’m a straight lady. I’m married. Around 50% of my friends at any time since high school have somehow ended up being Asian females so even if I were in the market I don’t seem to be having trouble meeting people. So I am wondering what I looked at that got me sent down that rabbit hole.

Stina (#686)

@Stina I should add that this appears on my work computer not the home one so unless someone is signing on it when I am not here the ad is targeting me, not another member of my household.

moreadventurous (#4,956)

Any book I’ve ever looked at on Amazon lingers for days on Facebook. Also, a pair of Nordstroms ankle boots that I looked at online and bought in store about three months ago. I already own you!!

EmilyAnomaly (#4,238)

@moreadventurous Same thing happened to me with a winter coat I bought online at REI. Yes coat, I love you. Thanks for reminding me.

zeytin (#4,005)

These kind of ads are what finally pushed me to install ad-block. I found it creepy, and as someone else mentioned it can ruin surprises when your SO sees what you have been searching for. Also, usually when I am looking online it is just a fantasy thing, and I don’t want to be reminded of the things I am not going to buy. Facebook is so refreshing without ads. You guys should try it.

Liz the Lemur (#3,125)

@zeytin Agreed. But recently I’ve been having to re-adjust my adblock settings every third day or so. That damn side column keeps coming back.

lindseykai (#1,544)

Mine is an ugly fleece jacket that was a Christmas present from my company. I immediately looked it up to see how much I’d get when I returned it. Fortunately, people are willing to pay a ridiculous amount to look like a hot pink Muppet if you slap the name North Face on there.

honey cowl (#1,510)

I am being stalked by a pullover that has the slogan I’M JUST HERE FOR THE SAVASANA on the front, which is true and good and I DO really want it but I can’t convince myself it’s worth the $$.

honey cowl (#1,510)

@honey cowl And that “1 weird trick to reduce belly fat,” which, I’m not sure if I get it more often because I’m a runner, or because everybody gets that always everywhere.

samburger (#5,489)

@honey cowl I get that ALL THE TIME and I am 100% sedentary and an anti-dieting evangelist

But maybe that’s why they’re targeting me? Idk idk

honey cowl (#1,510)

@samburger hahah who knows?! I’m a runner for fun/awesome reasons not because I’m trying to lose weight, but I thought maybe they were connected??? but i doubt you are 100% sedentary!

samburger (#5,489)

I am being followed by: Wedding rings because my wife and I bought some like 8 months ago, one ugly bar table from Crate and Barrel, Visa black or whatever that card is (because I looked into the Barclay MasterCard for the billion mile sign-on bonus), Anthropologie bedding because who doesn’t look at their bedding on the reg?, and gifts that I’ve already bought.

amglory89 (#3,588)

Engagement rings and dating sites – this concludes the tour of my depressing love life.

Marissa (#467)

Modcloth bathing suits. It’s December. I’m not ready for you yet!

the rat lady (#785)

Hijab. I am the biggest atheist in the world. No clue what happened there.

garli (#4,150)

@the rat lady Ads have a sense of humor?

the rat lady (#785)

@garli Or they want my ears to be warm.

Do people not use ad blockers on their browsers?

Beaks (#3,488)

@TheDoctorsCompanion Or clear their browsers? I wind up getting stalked by light fixtures at work, so I just clear my cookies so I can at least be stalked by something more interesting.

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