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How Many People Live in Your House?, November 19, 1995 :: Ben Turner's Soapbox

 

the soapbox @ benturner.com
archived soapbox: November 19, 1995
"How Many People Live in Your House?" [permalink]
    keywords: bulk mail, junk mail, information, Internet, snail mail, databases, corporations, companies, soliciting, mass mailing, spam
    soapbox #: 7
    written: November 19, 1995
    words: 555

"How Many People Live in Your House?", an Essay

*whiny Andy Rooney voice* Did you ever wonder how many people those advertising-through-mail companies must think live in your household?

I don't know if this is as bad as it is for everyone else, but we have three people in our house. You wouldn't be able to tell from looking at our mail, however. Among the inhabitants: Mei Lin, Fred(erick), and me, Ben. Yes, I've gotten mail from credit card agencies and age-18-and-older deals. They never respond when they find out how old I am. I receive mail as just a few names, Victor, Benjamin and Ben. Victor is my real first name (although for a better-sounding name, my "first name" is Benjamin). Colleges often send things to both Victor AND Ben Turner. They must think there are two geniuses in the same household! *snicker* It's worse for my dad; he's been called Fred, Frederick, Fredrick, Fredric, and even Drederick! And hehe, imagine what it's like for my mom -- Mei Lin, Mie Lin, Maylin, Mee Lin, and more that I can't even think of. My brother even gets mail here, and he moved out about ten years ago! We even have people living here called "Resident" and someone who must be related, "Current Resident". We're of course all eligible to win, Ed McMahon says.

Just how many people do they think live in each household?? I know these people probably just put stuff into databases, but you'd think they'd notice or try to erase mistaken names. No big deal, really, right? Wrong. It generates a lot of junk mail (which only gets worse as your name is passed to more lists) and wastes paper and money. I think they should open a new job which would require the employee to simply root out duplicate names. Heck, even the company benefits.

It's very amusing to think about it. We're nearing the twenty-first century and we still have a problem with sending mail. And it's pointless drivel mail, too! It's near unavoidable for people to send junk mail though. Junk mail's even a problem on the Internet, where ignorant jerks find as many newsgroups as possible and post pyramid schemes, designed to earn them even more money. With the technology available to find any information you desire just about, it's easy for companies to compile lists of e-mail addresses to send their junk mail to. I got a letter a month ago from some extremist group trying to stop immigration, as it was destroying the U.S. Hey guys, it's also people like you who destroy the U.S. But this is another issue. The point is that they somehow found my e-mail address. The e-mail was quickly destroyed. *grin*

I'd like to see some kind of cleaning up and courtesy extended by the companies in question, but it probably won't happen. I guess while I wait for something to happen, I'll pray for the day when Victor, Drederick, and Nei Lin all win disgusting amounts of cash on the same day, compliments of Ed McMahon.

[ Added later: the real reason these companies keep all the extra information is because information's one of the most important things right now. In the future, people will have jobs just collecting things. Read Neal Stevenson's "Snow Crash". ]



 
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