Mailing List Rant

I got another begging letter today. Like all the others it was addressed to me in the same way as the shipping address I gave to the online perfume store (see entry titled SOL, Galaxy Mall, Free Dinner Rip Off).

The letter was from a wildlife protection organisation, IFAW, and it is the second begging letter I have received from an animal protection group.

It makes me absolutely furious that such good causes are willing to do such underhanded things to get money. What is underhanded about sending me a letter asking me to support them you may ask? I’m so glad you asked me that. Buckle your seat belt because I am about to let rip.

How DARE they buy my details from each other!

How DARE they tell me lies!

How DARE they pull that emotional blackmail shit on me!

How DARE they sell my details to other people without my permission!

In spite of my continued efforts to blacklist that thrice damned perfume company they continue to send me emails but I wonder if they really are the culprits who continue to sell my contact details. It’s been so long since I gave the details to them that I begin to suspect they simply sold them to someone who sold them to someone who sold them to someone and so on.

It would appear companies can buy mailing lists secure in the knowledge they can add their own suckers, sorry – customers or supporters, to them and sell them on. They have, therefore, zero incentive not to buy them or sell them on. There is money to be made in shafting your targets or prospective targets so they all seem to be doing it!

As for the lies – the wildlife group are claiming I have supported them in the past and I know bloody well I have not. I support the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) who, I might add, have never sent me a begging letter. I have certainly never given either one of them my current address – IFAW bought it!

When it comes to emotional blackmail – hello – I have been the target of emotional blackmail from experts in the game and I resent it hugely! Every day some caller tells me it’s my job to give them a reason for living and hints I will be responsible for their suicide if I fail.

Now IFAW has the gall to tell me I’ll be responsible for the suffering and the savage, cruel deaths of animals if I don’t cough up money to stop it. They sent me a “supporters card” then told me to send them a donation to help them cover the costs of that. They included pictures of poor suffering animals and stories that give each animal a name to personalise them for me and make me feel even sorrier for them. They sent me a pack of greeting cards and envelopes to make me feel I owe them money for those at the very least.

Then, in small print, they tell me they will be passing my details on to other companies so I can “look forward to” (yes they said that!) receiving more junk, sorry, “interesting news and offers” and they tell me the only way I can stop them is to send them a letter. No box to tick – send a letter. By the time they receive it they will, of course, have already sold my details so will happily remove me from their list.

Where do they get off making me feel *I* will be responsible for the continued suffering of the animals when they have just spent money on a mailing list, a laminated “supporters card”, a package of greeting cards and envelopes, a two page letter, a brochure, stationary and postage to send out this unsolicited, underhanded, crap!

Here’s the way it looks to me.

I am playing a little game called “piggy in the middle”. Ever heard of it? It’s where some mongrel snatches something of yours and, when you approach them to get it back, they throw it to someone else. When you approach the other person they throw it to the next person.

This is a version called PITAM (Piggy In The Advertising Middle!). Strawberrynet.com snatched my name and address and threw it to another company. They sent me junk mail telling me I am free to write to them and ask to be removed from their mailing list then they threw my details to the next company who also sent me junk and said I can ask to be removed from their list before throwing me on to the next one.

It’s a no-win situation. I can spend thousands of dollars writing to every company asking to be removed and the chances are I will just confirm the legitimacy of my contact details and be placed on even more lists.

This sort of thing arouses the Don(na) Quixote in me. It makes my Aries ram put her head down and snort fire. It is a “call to war” for me!

Can’t win? We shall see about that!

Here’s my plan of attack and defense.

Rule One – NEVER EVER EVER respond to these offers! This makes me feel savage because I WANT to send IFAW some money – I WANT to support groups who fight cruelty to animals. I do not, however, want to be a helpless PITAM forever and IFAW has told me they will sell my contact details on. I am furious with them for buying my details in the first place too. I will not reward such underhanded practises – ever.

Rule Two – Never open these letters. Mark them “return to sender – address unknown” and post them back.

Rule Three – If I do happen to open one make the cost to the sender as high as possible to discourage this practise. As long as profit outweighs expense they will continue this practise and more and more companies will buy the lists.

The last one I got was trying to sell me a dodgy slimming product. I removed my identifying details and sent the junk back in the reply post paid envelope – to Singapore! That way they pay double postage and lose a little bit of money.

For IFAW I have simply accepted their free cards and I will use them. I cannot, yet, bring myself to cost them a cent in wasted return postage because it will be a few cents less that can go towards a good cause. It seems to me they have wasted enough of the money people give them in good faith!

A little voice in the back of my mind reproaches me.

It says I make no great effort to support good causes so how else are they going to reach me and motivate me to cough up my money?

The same way the RSPCA does!

Put a collection tin where I will see it as I shop, have volunteers bail me up on the street asking for donations, offer me cheap pens for five dollars! I cough up every time and I have even gone to an atm to get money to donate!

If I had got that letter addressed to “The householder” I would not have been so angry. If they had not lied to me or tried to use emotional blackmail I would not have been so angry but anyone who treats me like a PITAM is going to make me so mad they will get nothing out of me just on principle.

I may not be able to get my contact details back off them but I can sure as heck make sure it is not worth their while having them!

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