A Special Offer by Trevor Plumbly
There they are! Real bargains and special offers, clogging up my mailbox to the extent I am forced to reflect on how many trees they kill to send me this crap. Not much point sticking a ‘No Junk Mail’ thingy on the box, they’ll just jam the stuff in your newspaper and get you that way. But nosey old bugger that I am, I can’t help but read it, and cogitate on how my life would improve if I availed myself of all this generosity. Or on how those that peddle and patronise this invasion would feel if I took a swipe at what they’re trying to entice folks into.
First up is an astonishing offer for “ITALIAN DESIGN” furniture. Just why people assume that Italians know best when it comes to dining or simply sitting down is a bit beyond me, but I suppose even Italians and advertisers have to eat. Anyway, the main thrust of this important message is to offer me FREE CREDIT! For three years! Honestly folks, if I had no money or furniture I’d be sorely tempted. I imagined my friends admiring my new acquisitions: OK so they’re made in China but an Italian designed the bloody stuff. I pondered the wisdom of being asset rich for three years without paying a cent, before binning the temptation with the other 70% of the daily junk mail they’ve got the nerve to call a newspaper.
The next pamphlet guarantees me ‘TRIPLE FLY BUY POINTS’ if I grace the sender with my patronage. For those of you mercifully out of the loop on this one, ‘fly buys’ are the reincarnation of ‘green shield stamps’ and about as much use to consumers. If you live long enough and spend enough to amass about a million of the bloody things you’ll probably end up owning a set of four Taiwanese coffee mugs free!
Purveyors of electrical goods are in a class of their own when it comes to junk mail. In fairness, it must be tough trying to convince people that family budgets don’t matter and that it’s more important to replace the perfectly functional gizmo that they bought last year and, given the rate that this stuff is being produced, retailers must feel a bit like a surfer in front of a Tsunami. I am guaranteed ‘red hot deals’ on everything from mobile phones to gadgets whose function and purpose is a total mystery to me.
Auckland is currently experiencing a housing boom and thus a severe shortage of properties available. This of course brings out the best in real estate agencies; not many days pass without another literary arm-twister being delivered. Nothing, it seems, is a problem to these gals and gents, and, when it comes to self-promotion, I can only thank God they’re not in politics. It seems that you can’t just sell your house anymore, you need a marketing plan; if the agent drives a BMW you probably need a marketing strategy and all sorts of other stuff, access to which can only be gained by contacting the smiling litter-lout on the flyer. ‘MAXIMUM EXPOSURE’, I learn, has got nothing to do with pole dancing; it’s an essential part of the ‘strategy’ and sounds pretty good if it’s buried in the rest of the hype. Keep ’em coming folks, I’m not thinking of flogging off the family pile, but it’s a joyous read for a cynic.
Here in New Zealand we are so concerned about alcohol abuse and binge drinking amongst the young that we ban TV and radio adverts for the stuff, politicians resort to Shakespearean hand-wringing and sports-folk take pains to distance themselves from the evil brew. Whilst this caring fest is going full tilt, my letter box is crammed with reams of waste paper urging me to buy crates of the demon brew at rock-bottom prices.
And so as Christmas approaches, they seem determined to get me; the stuff is coming thicker and faster and I’m not sure how much longer I can last. I empty the mailbox twice a day so that, hopefully, if it’s needed for its original purpose, the postie will find room. Meantime, quasi greenie that I am, I religiously place the reams of rubbish in the recycle bin; I assume it will be reborn in yet more unsolicited enticements. This suggests that the whole process should have a title: may I humbly suggest ‘BINFINITY’?