Hoover and Perez (1999) advocate a constructive approach to data mining. The current paper identifies four pejorative senses of data mining and shows how Hoover and Perez's approach counters each. To assess the benefits of constructive data mining, the current paper applies a data-mining algorithm similar to Hoover and Perez's to a dataset for Venezuelan consumers' expenditure. The selected model is economically sensible and statistically satisfactory; and it illustrates how data can be highly informative, even with relatively few observations. Limitations to algorithmically based data mining provide opportunities for the researcher to contribute value added in the empirical analysis.