Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

Advertisers waste time, money on the uninterested

It’s a sad reality that when a communications medium becomes flooded with advertising, people eventually get the message and stop using it, or find a way around the incessant ads.

In the book “Contact,” Carl Sagan wrote of a man who become a multi-billionaire and tax refugee because he invented a device that would automatically lower the volume of the TV when an ad came on. Little did Sagan know that a few years after his death, the TiVo would make TV watchable again because you could watch old TV shows on commercial TV and do 30-second hops through programming to bypass the ads.

I was thinking more in terms of the Postal Service, though, and whether I will miss Saturday delivery. Chances are, I won’t. It’ll be just another day of junk mail ads, most of which end up in the trash.

I shudder to think of the vast forests that have given their lives and leaves to try to persuade me that I really need a Delta SkyMiles/American Express card. Seriously, since adulthood, I have received a pitch about once every six weeks for the card.

The junk mail piece comes in an envelope with “Your travel documents enclosed,” but there are no travel documents inside, just a come-on for the card. Back before you could prevent them from calling you, I’d get telemarketed for the card, too. One of those calls ended in a string of obscenities by me for being interrupted yet again.

And yesterday, I received yet another pitch for an American Express card. Into the round file with that one, and more trees die to tell me something I don’t need to know.

Other memorable junk mail pieces are the “surveys” from the National Space Society and the Democratic National Committee, the pitches for money from the National Coalition Against Censorship and the USO. I’ve gotten hundreds of “renewal notices” from the ACLU, and countless “collection” warnings from Wired magazine. All have in common the fact that I once was a member or subscriber, and stopped.

Of course, there’s stuff I like to get in the mail, like my magazines, catalogs from outfits like Orion Telescope and more. I am not opposed to all junk mail, just the stuff I don’t want.

Advertisers are creating tons of “bad will” with relentless pitches aimed at the uninterested. Someday, maybe they’ll learn to stop. Until then, I guess we just have to deal with them.


July 20, 2010 - Posted by | Living in the modern age | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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