Anything You Want and Nothing You Need

when it comes to email spam, there is no end to offers you can refuse

Junk mail. Robocalls. Doorfront solicitors. The technologies may be different, but the goal is the same: Get you to pay for something you either hadn’t considered buying, or don’t need.

We’ve all had to deal with these unwanted intrusions into our time and privacy. For example, my wife and I probably get three or four fliers in the mail every week from window or paving companies offering to do work on our house. (After just getting our roof replaced, the only thing we are in the market for now, or can even afford, is a new bottle of Simple Green.)

There is no shortage in the number of calls we get from phone numbers that look this close to being recognizable, yet end up being from “Jennifer”, or some other recording thanking us for our recent stay at a Hilton resort (where we have never stayed), and offering us a three-day cruise or resort that I am sure is completely on the level and would have no repercussions on our credit if we gave over our Visa numbers out on the phone. 

And while we don’t get as many people ringing our doorbell as back in the day, every once in while there comes someone looking for signatures for a petition to get some measure on the ballot. And this inevitably leads to this person shotgunning a list of reasons why we need to support Measure-Fill-In-The-Blank, and then hitting us up for “just” $20, or whatever we can donate to support their cause.

But nothing tops the dozens, and sometimes hundreds of e-mails that land in my inbox every single day for deals and offers from businesses both legitimate and so comically unreal that they sound like my cat might have made them up. 

I guess this is what you get when you order something online and you have to agree to the terms and conditions that no one reads. Inevitably, you get stuck on the e-mailing lists of businesses and organizations you have not only never patronized, but have never heard of. 

Or, you take that one look at a riding mower at Home Depot and, amazingly, you get an e-mail from Victory Xie, Sales Manager, Maxizm Construction Machinery (Qingdao) Co., Ltd., Maxizm Industrial Limited, offering you an XCMG two-ton wheel loader for $21,700 direct from Shanghai. Nice of them to provide what I guess are supposed to be customer references. I’m sure the link to that one from Russia is completely on the level, and if I click on it, would put no malware or virus on my laptop whatsoever.

Like many parents, my wife and I have photos of our kids all over our walls. And like many parents, we’re either too busy, or too lazy, to ever update those photos to reflect anything besides our daughters when they were about three years old. Well, this summer, Canvas On The Cheap was thinking of me, because they sent me an offer for unlimited 16×20-inch prints for just $14.99 each. I’m almost willing to follow up on this offer, only I’d send in a picture of Kim Jong-Un just so I could put it up on the wall in place of one of our kids and see how long it would take my wife to notice her daughters had been replaced by the North Korean leader.

Out of the blue, I got an offer from College Life Today offering “affordable, simple, personal” loans “with great rates and easy terms” to pay off my student debt. This one was so straight up it almost had me convinced that I didn’t pay off my graduate school loans like I know I did more than a decade ago. (At least, I’m pretty sure I did. Really, Sallie Mae…No need to send some legbreakers after me.)

What else is there? You name it…

—Something called Honeybird tells me I can save $30 on the best weighted blanket for sleep, stress and anxiety. That note even includes a quote from “Anastasia”, who said Honeybird is “Like a stressball for your whole body.” I have to say that “Stressball” sounds like the name of a hair metal band that got its one video played one time late at night on MTV in 1986.

—“Dot-Com Products” wants me give me 50% off of The Better Butter Spreader, which, if the ad is to be believed, “Has Already Become the #1 ‘Must-Have’ of 2021.” This is interesting, because I thought a Covid-19 vaccination was the “#1 ‘Must-Have’ of 2021.”

—Apparently, I’m a “member” of something I didn’t know I was a member of. This is because “Aaron”, who is my “associate,” has been trying to contact me because he thinks I am going to love my complimentary psychic reading results. Something psychic in my head tells me I will go psychotic if I click through to see my “results”.

I could go on. “Black Coffee” tells me I can lose 20 pounds in 30 days. Mark Backes, of Ultra Fun Run, Inc. has invited me inviting to a scheduled Zoom meeting where I can learn the secrets to fundraising success! (His exclamation point). Cinch Home Warranty wants me to know that they can make it so I never have to pay for covered home repairs again. This one came with an image of a woman holding her face in her hand and water pouring out of her washing machine that was so realistic it nearly had me going to check to make sure our clothes washer hadn’t flooded our laundry room. I can get $250 off a mattress and 50% off some gadget to train my dog. All I need to do now is get a dog to train.

I try my best to clean out as many of these emails as I can. I’m sure some of this stuff is real, but I just don’t want to click on something for gutter guards (which I could use) and risk up having my personal information stolen and in need of credit protection (another service offered up by one of these spam emails.)

But, I have say that when it comes to email spam, there is something for everyone. And for anyone who never went looking for anything in the first place.

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