Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

They appear to want me dead

I have written numerous times of the efforts by flag-waving and –saluting types to separate American military personnel from their money, and am often amazed at the arrogance of the deception efforts.

I recently received a piece of mail that looked for all the world like an official communication from the U.S. government. But a closer inspection of the mailpiece revealed that it was just a bulk rate item, and upon opening it I learned that it was a scam attempt regarding the Social Security death benefit.

And I’m at the age where the AARP has discovered me. I joked to my mother that I might get even with them for their mail by working for the rest of my life — like I have a choice, right?

Years ago, companies were very creative in their designs, and often appropriated colors and shapes from the Postal Service’s “Priority Mail” and “Express Mail” services to create mailpieces with titles such as “Priority Service” and “Express Delivery.” Eventually, because of confusion, such deceptive uses were banned.

Death seems to be on the minds of many of those sending me junk mail these days. Companies are offering me emergency burial certificates, and even newspaper ads are seeking to get veterans interested in getting themselves planted after they pass.

Many years ago, I guess in the late-1980s, I received a telemarketing call from an outfit purporting to represent a cemetery and informing me that I qualified for an emergency burial certificate. If I showed up dead at the cemetery, they could get me in the ground fast.

I informed them that I was very much alive and had no interest in planning the disposal of my body, and hung up. Others complained to the local newspaper of having received several calls, and no doubt the morbidity of it all led eventually to the do-not-call lists that have made life so much better for us all.

I suppose it’s the consequence of having turned 50 last year that suddenly I’m to be targeted for these death-related things. I mean, I haven’t even started to collect Social Security yet and already they want me in the ground.

Maybe I’m just overreacting to all the junk mail, but the truth is that overmarketing a service to people who are not interested just creates a more cynical and frustrated potential customer.

Back in the day, every few years there would be an article about the flood of advertising mail, and I know that the presence of a garbage can near the mailboxes where I live now means much of the mail that’s put in those boxes ends up in the trash. I personally rip unwanted mail in half and then in half again before dumping it. More interesting material goes to the condo, where I peruse it, then trash it.

But here’s the thing. I like to receive the mail that I like to receive, like magazines, ads for stuff I might be interested in, catalogs and more. I guess we just have to take the good with the bad.


September 22, 2011 - Posted by | Life lessons, Living in the modern age | , , , , , , , ,

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