Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Changing Nature of My Junk Mail


Junk mail, and it's electronic cousin, spam, are an unfortunate fact of life. The mailbox we wish was filled with chatty letters from friends and relatives is usually choked instead with advertisements, charity requests, bills, and other assorted wastes of paper, just as our e-mail in-boxes are filled with ads for Viagra and Cialis; breast enhancement and other types of cosmetic surgery; nutritional supplements; Russian girls in search of husbands; and messages from itinerant Nigerian princes in need of assistance with transferring funds.


What's interesting is how the percentage composition of this junk mail changes over time. Where a larger portion of my junk mail used to consist of come-ons from dating services*, I'm now getting lots of ads for retirement communities, Medicare supplements, funeral insurance, cemetery plots, and drugs targeting the various afflictions of the elderly**.

How do I get on all these mailing lists, and how are things targeted specifically at me or folks like me?

Well, we all know that every time you sign up for a store "discount card" or join an organization, the information you provide is immediately sold to information brokers***, who compile it and sell it to businesses who wish to separate you from your money. The percentage of my junk mail focused on age-based ads skyrocketed when I joined AARP, and as soon as we took our first cruise, we began getting come-ons from every cruise line and vacation broker on earth. Contribute to any charity and give them your e-mail address, and every other charity in the known universe will be trying to tap into your generosity. Register for a sweepstakes or other giveaway that requires you to leave your e-mail address or phone number, and you'll get onto dozens of mailing lists totally unrelated to what you thought you were signing up for.

I think it's funny that we get hysterical over Jackbooted Government ThugsTM who want to harvest our personal information, and yet we willingly give it up to people, businesses, and organizations who tell us up front that are going to misuse it.

Well, I'd write more, but I owe that Nigerian prince an answer about helping him transfer money. I wonder if he'd mind if I sell his e-mail address to a Viagra broker?

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

* Oddly enough, I still seem to get a lot of ads from Match.com, Christian Mingle, and J-Date ... proof positive that whoever is sending this stuff neither knows nor cares to know anything useful about me.

** Viagra and Cialis, as well as various drugs for diabetes, joint pain, and better sleeping.

*** You agreed to it in accordance with paragraph 692x(937)(zj)[866][yyy], subparagraph 397q(99)(gy) of the 462-page agreement you clicked to accept without taking it to your attorney first.

8 comments:

eViL pOp TaRt said...

The junk mail keeps on giving! Travel, clothing I can't afford, student loan help, it seems that whatever I get new categories appear. And, yes, the infamous Match.com

Gonzo Dave said...

I'm *on* Match.com and I get spam from "Match.com" - and I put that in quotes because the sending address is usually some redirected spam domain that was invented just for the purpose. I've noticed a lot of my spam email recently is coming to "Subscriber" from somewhere in the .xyz universe.

John Hill said...

Form time to time I go through and "unsubscribe" to many of the spam ads I get. I put unsubscribe in quotes because I have never actually "subscribed" to most of them!

I like the idea of using their emails against them.

Mike said...

I'm waiting for the one from a Russian girl looking for a sugar daddy.

allenwoodhaven said...

I get spam ads from my newspaper offering special deals that are only available to new subscribers. That bugs me!

My mother and a friend once had a contest. They each saved every offer for credit cards for a month then added up the total credit they might have gotten. My mother said she could buy a expensive car and the friend said she could buy a house!

Linda Kay said...

My mailbox is filled with hubby's magazines and all those political ads at the moment. We have to tolerate these for many months to come!

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

We get a lot of spam and catalogs-even one for dog beds and clothes!

Jennifer gets the Victoria's Secret catalog.

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer said...

Junk mail and spam never thrill me! The local newspaper is sending me emails to subscribe.