Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam

Is it just me, or has the amount of spam being dished out exploded the past couple months?

These days, I have problems finding the real messages from the spam.

What broke the camel’s back was not the porn come-ons, or the Nigerian or the HGH scams.

It wasn’t even the penis enlargement ads. No, the straw that broke the camel’s back was the first breast enlargement ad. No, I do not moonlight as a she-male, nor patronize them. 🙂

I mean, really, if that isn’t proof these people aren’t sending blind, I don’t know what is.

A Sign of the Times

There is growing pressure for legislation to do something about this.

To me, it’s just a sign of a lack of decency and courtesy I see more and more of these days.

The economics of the Internet makes the marginal cost of a mass mailing negligible. So what if 99.9999% of those you send to want neither your product nor your spam? Up theirs.

That might not be so bad if you could convey your lack of interest so it wouldn’t be a repeat crime, but nowadays, if you reply back and say, “No mas,” that just means “Mas.”

This profoundly violates my sense of how things ought to be.

If you wish to offer me something, that’s fine. But after you tell me, I tell you.

Perhaps other cultures are more reticent about the “N” word, but when I say, “No,” I mean “No.” If I wanted to say “Yes,” or “Maybe,” I have a big vocabulary that includes those words. I bet you do, too.

So why do I have to so often have to say, “What part of the word “No” don’t you understand?”

Case Studies

I remember one real estate firm that called constantly about wanting to sell my house. Again and again, all parties on the receiving end said there was no interest in selling the house. After a while, all parties requested, in increasing nasty terms, that the number be removed from their calling list.

But our wishes mattered not one little bit, we were told this was impossible, even though by that point we would have gladly burned our house down rather than sell it through this company.

It took legislation, with penalties, to get our names off their phoning list. (Well, the legislation wasn’t the Stop Harassing Ed Act, but a law had to be passed because telemarketers lacked a little courtesy.

But how can I expect people to take “No” for an answer when they don’t even take “Yes” for an answer?

I’ve had people call, and I’ve asked them to send me literature for their product or service to study it more thoroughly. Many have refused, essentially saying, “No, we’re going to get you to buy this right now!”

One time, someone called me asking for a contribution for a political party. I indicated that I would, right away. Did this make the person happy. Well, nooooooo. Then he told me that I had to tell him exactly how much I was sending.

These weren’t suggestions or requests. This was an order, “You must tell me.”

Now look, buddy, I’m not asking you for money, you’re asking me. I tell you, you don’t tell me.

And mind you, this wasn’t some lily-livered hesitant wuss on the phone. This was me sounding on the phone like I do on the website.

I had one person conducting a poll asking me for the same information repeatedly, which is not a good idea to do after twenty minutes of you asking questions when the answer is “None” and I’m telling you this is taking too much time.

You really ought not to ignore me. What you really don’t do is tell me I have to complete the poll. My slamdunk of the phone would have gotten Shaq envious.

The Dis Society

The problem with this lack of respect and rudeness is that it becomes contagious. If you won’t take “No” for an answer, well, it’s hard to sell to a dial tone.

My SOP for someone selling me something these days is to hear what the person wants to sell me, and if my answer is “No,” the response is “I am not interested, thank you, have a nice day,” then hang up.

This is rude, and maybe that particular person doesn’t deserve it, but the odds on that haven’t been too good lately. What else can I do? If someone doesn’t respect me, why should I respect them?

What I Don’t Understand

To me, saying “No” quickly is a form of courtesy. Maybe I’m unbelievably decisive, but I’m not going to sell my house just because you want me to. You aren’t going to do any better selling me cosmetics. So why waste not only my time, but the salesperson’s?

Or am I just out of it? Do people actually like being seduced by salespeople?

Courtesy: A Lost Cause?

Courtesy is a term used so rarely these days, much less practiced. If people thought a little about other people, which is all courtesy is, we’d have a lot less spam and sales calls and junk mail.

Courtesy is a good business tactic, too. Pissing people off only works for masochists.

It’s such a shame we have to legislate courtesy.

P.S. It’s a bit off-topic, but is spam/telemarketing an area we should keep an eye on?

Email Ed

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