Tag Archives: direct mail sales

September 2016 column Michiana House & Home Magazine: Act Now

towels         I ordered a set of bath towels and ended up with a stalker. I’m not joking. I was young. I was newly married and I was trying to establish my credit at a time when companies did not issue Visas to anyone breathing oxygen.

And so…I ordered the towels: Four bath towels, four hand towels, eight washcloths and two fingertip towels (I am not totally sure what that is.) There was also a set of swan shaped salt-and-pepper shakers that were included as a bonus “free” gift as a thank you for your order. Naturally this was all available for the low, low price of (say it with me) $19.99 plus shipping and handling. I can’t remember the final total now, but I was expected to cough up four monthly payments of $6 and change.

But then, I couldn’t get rid of these people! Every day my mailbox was full of their catalogues, postcards and not-to-be-missed offers that I literally had to move out of the state in order to escape. Sometimes I got multiple, but uniquely different catalogues in the same day’s delivery. It was nuts.

I won’t mention the company’s name because I appreciate their special brand of capitalism, but after a while their persistence was a little creepy. The copy on their mailings addressed me by name and referred to my previous purchase as if it were the single greatest coup since Jefferson bought Louisiana! It was bath towels. Cheaply made, fall-apart-in-the-washing-machine-after-ten-showers bath towels! I had to wonder how they would react if I actually became a repeat customer. I had a feeling they would become so giddy with appreciation that they might decide to move in with me!

I really don’t know what possesses a company you have never heard of to send out one random catalogue or post card in hopes that you bite on whatever they are selling. And if you are crazy enough to put down some hard earned money on their unique products, then you have a friend for life. Not only that but they tell their friends about you and they all send you their publications in hopes of finding out just how gullible you are.

For 20 years, I managed to elude them. I had to buy a new house nearly a thousand miles away and enter the witness protection program, but I didn’t hear from them at all. To be honest, I thought the company along with their inexpensive home décor had long gone out of business, but then one night…I saw a commercial for them on television. Television! They’re baaaaaaccck!

I held my breath until the commercial was over, but I no longer feel completely safe. I’m starting to see their ads creeping into my local weekly circular and a few mailings addressed to “occupant.” I am not taking any chances. I refuse to take their bait, or even let them know that they are swimming in the right pond. They may have gotten me once hook, line and sinker, but I am not going to let them reel me in again.

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