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Don't fret about giving stores your e-mail address when someone asks for it at the check-out counter. They aren't going to sell it to another company (or at least, they shouldn't) and it won't make you vulnerable to identity theft.
What you will get is access to special sales and discounts exclusively for online customers. You don't have to order online, though; most of the coupons also are good at retail stores (but check the coupon's fine print just to make sure).
At my store, for example, we are swamped on the final day that an online coupon can be used, or the last day a particular item will be on sale. (and, contrary to the professional "cheapskate's" advice - we don't "grandfather" the offer to people who come a day late). So people are definitely reading their e-mails. Online readers have priority access to news of special events and promotions they may want to take advantage of. The e-mails also are a good reminder to pick up something at the store you may have forgotten about.
If a checkout person does NOT ask for your e-mail address, you can go to the company's website and enter it yourself.
The only downside is that you can be assured that you will receive at least one e-mail a week from that retailer (and during the holiday season, it may be once a day). But saving 20-50% on everything you buy is certainly worth it, wouldn't you say?