In today’s wired (or wireless) world it’s almost impossible to escape the dreaded robocall.

During last fall’s election season I would get as many as two or three a night. The phone would ring, I would pick up the phone and there would be that telltale second or two of silence followed by the candidate’s recorded pitch extolling you to get out and vote, and while you’re at it vote for me.

Annoying? Yes. But once the election was over they stopped and I could enjoy some peace and quiet.

Recently, the robocalls have started up again – but this time not from the local candidates running for school board, but from my local pharmacy.

The pharmacy that I use, a branch of one of the country’s biggest chains, has always made automated calls to some degree. Up until recently, these calls were fairly innocuous usually running along the lines of “Your prescription is ready for pick-up.” But now, they have added an interesting new wrinkle and it shows just how clever retailers are when it comes to data-mining, targeting specific consumers and even a bit of fear-mongering.

The most recent robocall from this pharmacy was actually directed at my son who takes seasonal allergy medication. The call started out by saying the call was for him and then asked if he needed his allergy medication renewed because the allergy season was in full swing – and why suffer when you can refill your prescription right now?

My son usually takes allergy meds in the spring when everything is blooming, but has never had to take anything during the summer, so this call seemed a bit off because of the timing. Also, if he needed the meds we would have called in for a refill, there is no need for us to be prompted. The little dig about why suffer with allergies also rubbed me the wrong way. Was my son suffering with allergies? No. But maybe I should refill his prescription anyway – you know – better to be safe than sorry and prove that I’m a good parent.

But after thinking about the call for a while I realized how truly clever it was. If they could get you to renew your prescription, whether you needed it or not – they made a sale. Plus, if they got you in the store, chances are good that you pick up some deodorant, a candy bar and energy drink. More revenue!

So, are robocalls good for your health? Maybe. Do they help the pharmacy make a healthy profit? Absolutely.