Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Take Back your Mink . . .

 . . . take back your pearls—though I think that Miss Adelaide was referring to largely solicited gifts. It is three kinds of unsolicited offerings I want to mention  today.

See Ronald Reagan on a first class stamp on the left of the window.
The first kind arrived in the mail regularly during the  weeks running up to the primaries and the election. The philosophy behind this mail is "make the recipient feel indebted to you" and there will be another example at the end of this post. They were not sent altogether randomly, but were always from the candidates in the party they had good reason to think my husband would support (and always addressed to him, not me.) The candidates sent us a gift! Usually a stamp, sometimes a nickel and on one occasion a dollar bill. The text book for Marketing 101 obviously said the gift should be visible so the designated recipient (and presumably any potential pilferer who could get his hands on it) could identify the Judas role he was being tempted by, open the envelope and act accordingly. I have often wondered if Ernie appeared in the database as an especially generous and ardent supporter, or mailings would have been an enormous drain on the campaign budget.

Next we come to catalogues. I have just filled in an e-survey from Paper Direct (yes, I am going to mention you by name) and told them to pay attention to their data base. If they did that, they could see that I order 125 sheets of paper with matching envelopes once a year for Christmas letters and an odd package of 25 seasonal papers for letters. I think most of the Paper Direct clients are commercial and order in large numbers. So why does this firm send me a catalogue virtually every week—and then says there are more designs on-line. If I want paper, I go straight to the website anyway. I won't list the other companies that send me catalogues way out of proportion to the amount I spend with them. I must look up the rationale in the afore-to-mentioned textbook. Anyone of you who has nothing better to do at this time of the year can enter "marketing" in the search feature of this blog and you will see I have written several posts on this subject before. My, my, I had quite forgotten Keith.

Last, but not least, we come to address labels, the other "make them feel indebted to you" product. Several years ago I received a big package of return address labels and stickers from a worthy charity and I sent them a check. I immediately received another package and this ping-pong relationship has been going on ever since. I don't always send them money, but they don't give up. Their product is quite tasteful, which is more than I can say for many other charities. (This Christmas we received a package of Christmas cards from an order of brothers which had a picture which looked exactly like Mary about to change a dirty diaper—and looking a little like she was feeling "What, me?" I would have love to include a photo in this post, but I think the good brothers deserve a little respect.) Even if I wrote 10 letters a day for the conceivable future, there is no way I could use up the return address stickers I have just from this one charity. My son once subscribed his father to a magazine and, as a joke, told National Geographic that the recipient would be one "Aristotle Ament." Now return address labels come into the house by the hundreds bearing that august name.

I will have to complain more. I have always wanted to emulate Miss Adelaide and say in her immortal phrase, "Take back your fill-in-the-blanks to from whence they came."

1 comment:

Maggie May said...

It is annoying getting the return envelope stickers. It happens here too and we get charities sending biros and diaries, calendars as well as prints of pictures painted by disabled people. I try & send the bigger things back. What annoys me is the charities that send lottery tickets..... books of them just because I've given to that charity at some point in the past. I cannot always give and this is most off putting.
I sound like a real scrooge and tongue in cheek find myself humbug!
Merry Christmas
Maggie x

Nuts in May