Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mail Fraud

I love getting mail. Love it. Even when my mailbox is simply stuffed with junk and bran-scented Lillian Vernon catalogs and dead leprechauns, I love it. Because once in awhile, a free sample sneaks a ride into my house via some catalog or another: a packet of herbal tea, a teeny disc of soap, an industrial-sized vat of Astroglide. You just never know what the mail will bring! And tonight brought an especially exciting moment, courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service:

A hand-written note addressed to my husband!

“Look!” I shouted, handing over the quaint lil’ envelope with the blue ink-scrawled address, “You have real mail!”

He scowled, suspicious at such good fortune. Who could possibly be writing him in such an old-fashioned yet thrilling mode of communication?

I waited eagerly while he tore into the letter and pulled out a newspaper clipping. A yellow Post-It was stuck to the top of the folded page. It read: “Jason--Check this out!”

And what exactly were we being asked to check out?

An ad for a local auto dealership.

I started laughing, and didn’t stop for nearly twenty minutes. Because first we imagined some poor salesman (let’s call him Todd) sitting at his desk, handwriting Post-It after Post-It: “Ed! Check this out!”… “Jim! Check this out!” ... “Stu! Check this out!” (Plus handwritten addresses.)

“You know what would have made this even funnier?” my husband asked. “If the guy had written, ‘Check this shit out!’”

Oh my God, why can’t I live in a world where things like that happen?

It struck me as even funnier at first because we suspected the entire audacious sales pitch was a joke being perpetrated on us by our friend Scott, who two years ago thoughtfully decorated our sidewalks with handwritten lyrics to various songs by Poison, Whitesnake, and Bon Jovi. Last week he hauled a 25 pound block of ice two blocks to our driveway and placed it in front of my husband’s car along with a note reading, “This block of ice weighs 25 pounds and came from Bruce’s driveway. Love, Scott.”

My favorite part of the story is that he took the time to weigh a giant block of ice in his house. On a bathroom scale.

Anyway, I don’t know if you’re reading this Scott, but I have a fantastic idea. And it just may be coming to a mailbox near you.


  1. Oh, we've gotten these before, and I agree, they would be better if they included the word 'shit'. MUCH better.

  2. Anonymous11:08 PM

    Wow. I can't decide if that's a genius idea or a desperate one. But I kinda hope it works for them, because it's rather adorable. Though I have gotten similar things and the stick notes have actually been computer-generated--it just didn't look like it at first. And a magazine I subscribed to had a personalized ad somewhere in it, which actually freaked me out a little. It felt like they were trying just a little too hard.

  3. back when he was single, a friend of mine used to mail me random crap all the time: dried spaghetti, doll clothes, matchbooks...pretty much whatever crap he came across that he could stuff in an envelope.

    his wife frowns on that sort of thing so i stopped getting my fun mail surprises.

    anywho...i find scott endearing. and slightly hilarious.

  4. Ha! That's the oldest direct mail trick in the book. Usually, it just says: "J, check this out..." and then you spend all day trying to figure out who they're talking to. It's freaky and kinda disturbing. I agree that "shit" would have made it so much better. And I also agree that getting mail is a great part of the day.

    Stopping by to say hello.

  5. I get these handwritten notices from Chiropractors now and then. Can they see my scoliosis from that far away!?

  6. And why can't I GET jumbo vats of free Astroglide??????

  7. You know Jess, we get these notes... But they are from of all things, Dating services... They send post it notes, and phone calls which go directly to our voice mail...

  8. That's some ingenious marketing.

    How many newspapers did they have to buy?

    I'm baffled.

  9. There must be some corporate training out there teaching that the BIG NEW THING in customer outreach is putting pen to paper. I received a handwritten note from my bank the other day, saying they hope I'll drop by soon...do they think I'm hoarding $ under the bed rather than depositing it?

  10. I love getting mail too. Not so much the fan of junk mail though.

  11. Boy, how do I get THAT job?
    Real mail makes me just thrilled - I can't imagine living back in the day when people sent letters and stuff.

  12. The story about the block of ice cracks me up the most. Why don't I have friends like that?! LOL!

  13. Anonymous10:44 PM

    HAHAHAHA, even though I couldn't remember his name, I totally suspected Scott, too!

  14. Anonymous12:11 AM

    I always feel I lose some education points when I open junk mail. Like damn kids tricked me again.

  15. I never get anything fun in the mail. Yet, I still check every day.

  16. I love the mail. It's just that glimmer of hope that something good is going to be in there. I walk to the mailbox everyday hoping for love or money. That was hilarious about the block of ice. Sounds so much like a guy.