Yesterday, as I was carrying out a baggie full of "things that had gone bad in the fridge", a kid was standing outside our front door. He was carrying a box of popcorn, and had that earnest look I associate with the latest breed of young door-to-door salesmen. But he didn't really have a clue. As I came out the door carrying the oozing baggie, he stood squarely in my way, and didn't move until he caught a wiff of the no-longer-food which was about to hit him in the chest. As I continued down the stairs heading toward the dumpster, he started giving his sales-pitch to my back. As I tossed the offending goo into the dumpster and headed back into the house, he blocked my way again. Kid, I'm not buying any. Get out of the way. That simple lack of politeness he showed is what makes me mad about spam. Someone is intruding on your space, getting in your way, and generally making what should be a simple task harder.

And it's not just email. The intrusive tactics of various "non-profits" (many of which seem to exist only to enrich their officers and board-members) are turning me off all charitable giving. Greenpeace used to get twenty dollars a year from me because the same guy came around every year and would take a few minutes to update me on what they'd been doing with my money. They he quit coming around, and they started sending increasingly urgent pleas for money via the mail. And they no longer get a dime. They're not the only ones, by any means. And because they share their mailing lists (read: sell for a profit), most charitable organizations are going to quit getting money from me.

Then there are the mail-order companies. Buy something from them once, and you'll be getting at least a catalog per month, every month, for the rest of your life. Even if you tell them you don't want any more, you'll keep getting a catalog a month. I get more catalogs than magazines in the mail, and I subscribe to a half-dozen magazines (down from a dozen a year ago). Some are weekly magazines, and they still don't outweigh the catalogs.

Telemarketers? What do I need to say about them? They won't leave a message on the answering machine, and I now screen almost all of my calls. I'm probably going to quit answering the phone altogether soon (or just drop the landline and only give my cell-phone number to a select few).

I don't know what the answer is, but I do know that I'm not going to encourage them. I'll buy from companies that have the things I want, but I won't do it based on a catalog, phone call, or email I get from them. I'll continue to search for things on the net, and then either phone in an order or use a special email address for the company which I'll delete after the order's gone through. For non-profits, the only ones who will get money are the ones where I've actually met someone involved with the organization.

As for the rest of the spammers, whether email, snail-mail or telemarketing, fuck 'em.

Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 14:09:00.