Thursday, December 21, 2006

Interesting junk mail

I received an interesting piece of junk this morning: interesting because it succeeded in combining my disgust at psychics, my disgust of junk mail (this happened to be the paper kind), and my contempt and disgust at cons.

This particular con purports to come from a "Gayle Winters, Clairvoyant of international standing - Life Energy Advisor". She can't be much of a clairvoyant if she wasn't able to forsee that I wouldn't send this straight on to the ASA (after blogging about it first, naturally).

It all begins with very normal new-age mumbo-jumbo

John, it's disgraceful that people still make you hollow promises, announce hypothetical winnings at games of chance, predict Happiness, Love and all the rest... and yet nothing changes in your life. Today I, Gayle, am going to offer you something concrete and more substancial! Here is the proof...

This is the kind of thing I like to hear: this woman LIKES me - and she's not even my fiancé! Wow. I hope she's not offering me the concrete and substancial things my fiancé offers - I don't think I'd get away with that...

I'm going to take care of you personally in a completely unique way

Um. That's not going to involve... you know... that outfit is it - I know my fiancé won't forgive me for that.

I'm going to provide you with direct and immediate help that is quite different from what you have been offered to date.

Kinky - looks like it will!

These aren't just empty words. Here is the proof! I am immediately do two Major Gestures for you:

Woohoo! I can think of two right away


John, first of all, I am going to send you a CHEQUE WITHIN 7 DAYS! It will help you immediately while waiting for the better days that are coming. YES... you have read correctly. I am going to send a Cheque to you in Hampshire (don't forget: the Great Money Gift amounts to a £10,500 cheque)!

Damn! Just a damn cheque. Looks like my up-coming marriage is safe after all. But hey! A cheque for 10-and-a-half-grand, which will be sent to me in only 7 days? Well, granted it would have been nicer had it arrived a few days earlier, then the Christmas shopping would have been a little more extravagent, still at this time of year more than any other we all know that it's the thought that counts, isn't it. And, given that this is from a clairvoyant, she's obviously realised the money savings I could make on the Lego StarDestroyer at Hamley's during the January sales. So it's still pretty cool.

As I was carefully studying your file, I...

Woah. Wait a minute. The joy has just gone out of this occasion. This wierd woman is keeping a file on me? I thought government was out of hand, but why the hell would a clairvoyant need a file? Where would they get their data? What data? Is psychic information subject to the Data Protection Act? If so, where do I send my complaint? What information does the supernatural hold on me? Damn it! Isn't the law supposed to protect us from this kind of abuse?!

..."saw" right away that you needed quick and effective help, especially in the financial area. You already know that my goal has always been to help the most vulnerable ones.

That's libel damn it - and a clairvoyant of all people should know it! The IT industry may not pay me as much as an MP but it isn't that bad.

On the back of the envelope (literally - and on the inside) was this damning destruction of my faith in this woman:

2/ The awarding of the winnings is submitted to a random draw game with a winner and losers.
5/ The winner will be drawn amonjgst all the registered participants for the £10,500 prize and with the same deadline on 31/12/07
12/...To participate by duly completing and returning the participating voucher before the deadline and to be drawn as the winner. Once these conditions are met, the winner will be contacted free of charge by recorded delivery within 2 months after the deadline.

Erm.. squeeze me? Baking powder? I thought this woman wanted to help me! I thought she was a clairvoyant who would know that I'd send this to the Advertising Standards Agency the moment I opened the letter!

She promised me a CHEQUE IN 7 DAYS! But the 31st of December is 10 days away - and 2 months is even longer than that!

Please tell me she's really a clairvoyant that knew - the moment she openned my "file" - that I was a skeptic, and a cynical one at that, who would know that she was a fiction of an con-artists imagination out to scam me, trying to get me to part with a paltry £10 in the promise of a return of £10,500. Surely she knows that I'm not the kind of sucker she was hoping to persuade by her promises.

Oh yeah - an appropriate complaint has been made to the ASA.


Infophile said...

It's amazing how low advertising standards are when it comes to woomeisters. Normal fake contests at least say "You may have already won." She, on the other hand, denies there's a contest and promises to simply send you the money. That, my friends, is what we call a "lie."

One note: When making hyperlinks within your blog, be sure to include the "http://" prefix. Otherwise, it'll try to link to a page within your blog.

Heather said...

I don't know if this is anything that's applicable in the UK, but the US has "bulk mail rates" that are cheaper than First Class. A quick check of the USPS website indicates a minimum mailing list of 500 recipients qualifies. I seem to recall that a couple of years ago, it was more than 15,000. (I looked into it for my business.)

Needless to say, it does wonders for your level of skepticism to get one of these woo filled letters telling you how special you are, and then look at the envelope and see "bulk mail, presorted" in the upper right hand corner.