a time in my life, many years ago when I actually wished for more mail. As a kid
I had a subscription to several comic books and was really excited when the latest
issue arrived. I bet they don’t even have mail subscriptions any longer. If I
received a letter from my Grandmother I was always thankful for her letter as
well as the money she enclosed. Mostly the money.|
But as we get older I
find that going to the mailbox just doesn’t seem to be as much fun as it used
to be. By the time you sort through all of the catalogs and special deals from
people and companies you’ve never heard of, you are left with a pile of bills
that you didn’t want in the first place.
From time to time I manage to
get removed from most of the junk mail addresses, but somehow they find me again
and start the process all over. There is one particular bank that sends me credit
card offers a couple of times a week. I only wish I had the money they must spend
on postage. Trust me….if they had access to mailing lists in the Middle East,
I’d be willing to bet they could get a letter to Osama Bin Ladin in a matter of
days. These people are relentless.
What makes me wonder is how do these
people make any money? Most of the medical junk mail I get concerns so called
‘miracle’ cures for everything from dandruff to cancer. Some of the stuff is offered
for free. I’ve made the mistake of responding to some of those and find that doing
so causes your mail to increase at an alarming rate. On any number of occasions
I’ve used a different first name just to see what happens. I can tell you what
happens; they sell the name you give them to other direct mail companies. Thus
your mail will increase. Count on it.
quality of junk mail you receive can also be altered by using a different prefix.
For example, if I write Dr. Perry or General Perry on the reply card, I find the
junk mail increases for the better. I get a lot more offers to plush resorts as
well as investment opportunities. If I call myself Rev. Perry, the offers seem
to be somewhat different.
On the other hand if I respond and tell them
that my name is Bubba Perry, then the quality drops off the chart and I start
getting advertisements about hunting and fishing as well as offers on new mobile
homes. Bubba Perry also seems to attract a larger number of ‘improve your credit’
opportunities and not as many investment letters as when I was Dr. Perry.
am at a loss to explain this.
Bubba also gets offers for new wheels and
rims for his truck and Reverend Perry gets offers for Christian book stores. Go
What I can’t figure out is how ‘they’ know when you are doing well
financially and when you are struggling to get by. Is there some secret clearing
house in the country where analysts sit around and look at our income and spending
habits just so they will know what kind of mail to send to you?
even want to know the answer to that one. I suppose if some folks have the ability
to see you eating a ham sandwich from a satellite fifteen thousand miles in the
sky, then I’d bet there are people who can track what we spend our money on and
how much we have left over. They probably read these articles as well just to
see what is being said around the country.
I hope this is true.
So, if you are reading this and are working on mailing lists, let me bring you
up to date. I have no money; I cannot use any investment tools for a condo in
Panama. I don’t need to hide my assets; I don’t play golf so stop sending me the
I also don’t need more Irish lottery tickets or notices
that some unknown uncle in Nigeria has left me eighteen million in cash. You can
stop sending me these ‘secret and special’ investment opportunities that only
go out to a ‘select’ few fortunate people. The general gets these, but Bubba doesn’t.
One strange thing I have noticed is the fact that the general, the reverend
and Bubba all get a Victoria’s Secret catalog. Makes you wonder what their criteria
for list generation is.
From North America
August 20, 2008 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers