A few years back, on the way home from visiting some family in Iowa, my wife and I stopped in at the world famous SPAM museum, the place to learn everything you’d ever wanted to know about the world’s most darlingest processed meat product. It’s where I first tried the adorable cube of gooey pink flesh, starting a month long love affair with trying to find a way to make the stuff taste edible…
This post is not about that Hawaiian favorite.
It’s about e-mail….and junk mail, and pretty much just the whole concept of unsolicited solicitation. Now, I get it, to a certain degree. There are some products out there that you just may not know that you want. A man running from door to door with amazing vacuums has the possibility of actually making a sale based on the fact that you didn’t realize that yours was so bad. A man selling encyclopedias (which I highly doubt happens anymore) could show you that getting a massive wealth of knowledge into your house doesn’t have to cost nearly as much as you thought.
Heck, a phone call from a cable company could end up a win from you because of the fact that you just didn’t realize how cheap HBO could really be, if purchased over the phone and willing to forego the realization that they’re going to hike up the prices in six months.
In other words, I get it…these things work.
E-mail SPAM is such a weird concept to me. Now, there are definitely things that do work. SPAM scams are abundant, and there are definitely enough people who have fallen for the Nigerian prince scam over the years to warrant these e-mails still being sent out ages later (fun fact: the Nigerian prince scam is actually based on a very old confidence man scam known as the Spanish prisoner).
Did you know that I get an e-mail a day from differing departments of the Pepsi company that I can’t, for the life of me, convince them to stop sending me? I’ve clicked the unsubscribe button on each and every one of these e-mails that come in. I’ve logged into the account they apparently created for me in order to unsubscribe to all e-mails they have me subscribed to (which they stated I was subscribed to none) and have tried a whole host of other things, only to find those same e-mails in my box day after day after day….
I’m not a Pepsi drinker, so it makes sense that they’d want to work me over. These e-mails will NOT do the trick.
Do you know that I cover the bottom of my lizard’s rather large cage with three layers of junk mail, and replace it weekly, and still have extras left over? The amount of mailers I get from local businesses telling me about their sales is overwhelming. I never signed up to receive them, there’s no way to opt out of them, the mail man just keeps delivering them whether I want them or not. Same thing with phone books…who the hell uses phone books anymore.
I don’t have a way to tell them I don’t want/need them. They do absolutely no one any good except the phone book companies who are able to convince businesses to continue to send them wads of cash to put their ads into these books that everyone tosses out.
I get on calling lists, rather frequently, which is annoying considering I’m on the do not call list. It’s stupid for them. I don’t spend any real time even talking to their people. I either say I’m not interested, or just hang up. They don’t get their money off me.
And people who come to my door? Well…to be honest, we’ve only had Jehovah’s Witnesses come to the door. I actually wanted to sit down and chat with them, because that’s an interesting group and I can’t help but feel intrigued to know about their sales process. Of course, Saturday morning is not the time to catch me wanting to sit around my house and chat about why I should change religions. Actually…I’m not sure there really is a regular time for that…just a mild interest in what techniques they may use and whether or not it at all resembles the process that those time share folks like to use.
Speaking of time share sales…I sat through one of the presentations once. It was actually rather convincing. The man who sat with us afterwards who attempted to use a rather heavy-handed sales technique, on the other hand, was not. Like I’m really going to drop tens of thousands of dollars without, at the very least, looking into your company’s reputation…No, I’m here for the show tickets you promised me. You and I BOTH know that. Stop acting so surprised/pissed that I would even consider not purchasing and just taking free stuff.
So much time, energy, and money is wasted on sales today. In my lifetime, I’ve seen so many different approaches to the concept of convincing someone to buy your products. In that time, the only thing I’ve ever seen that consistently works is to put out a quality product and find people who will get excited about it enough to tell their friends.
Of course…that doesn’t mean that I’m not SPAMming the world with my books…I mean…come on..how else are you going to find those people who will get excited? Tahitian Noni Juice?
But seriously…I know I didn’t enter that lottery. Do you really think I’m that gullible? I only own fifteen shares of the Brooklyn Bridge, after all.
But for real seriously…It’s rather depressing if you take a step back and look at what all of this constant marketing really is. Five billion voices crying out into the world simultaneously with the same two words. “Love me!” I think the one thing that will put a bounce in people’s steps once the world finally destroys itself and there’s only a tenth of the population left is that they won’t feel guilty about needing to support every company ever anymore. Instead, they’ll just be busy supporting their family.
Everyone wants your money and your attention, kids…but mostly your money. Remember that. Speaking of which…did you know that I have a new book out that’s only 99 cents?!?
And…have fun out there!
P.S. Seriously, you should go to the SPAM museum in Austin, MN. It’s fantastic!