I’m fascinated by spam. The email marketing, I mean, not the canned meat product. (Although I’ll admit to being a LITTLE fascinated by the canned ham, because: ew.) I think this particular interest has roots in the same part of my brain that has a deep and abiding love for infomercials, because the overriding reason for my love of spam is the fact that much like the people who are too stupid to figure out how to operate a regular blanket, there are people out there who are stupid enough to ACTUALLY receive these emails and then immediately whip out their credit cards to ORDER DISCOUNTED MEDICATIONS ONLINE. If no one did this, no one would send emails advertising these products, so ipso facto ( or perhaps ergo sum? my Latin, much like my Calculus, is a little rusty) there are people out there who do. And lo, the emails telling me they’re the only authorized online dealer of Viagra keep coming, and I keep hoping to someday have the opportunity to meet the sort of rube actual living breathing brain-having person who receives these emails and wonders to himself what harm there could actually be in buying pills from some guy named Dwayne at 71% off the regular price.
It used to be, back in the day, you’d receive your daily dose of spam in your inbox and you could roll your eyes and move on with your day, but it seems, kids, that the times, they are a-changing. I’ve somehow – through no fault of my own – ended up on the mailing list of a company in India that designs websites, and at least once a week I receive an email in my inbox from Angela, Business Development Consultant, outlining their services and offering to partner with me. Without fail, I receive another email 48 hours later from the same Angela, letting me know in no uncertain terms that she is Very Disappointed In Me For Not Responding, and asking me to get back to her as soon as possible. I inevitably receive the same email again in another day or two, reminding me once again that I owe her a response. I can’t even send it directly to my spam folder, because I occasionally get legitimate requests from people who want me to hook them up with a web designer and I can’t risk having those ones go to spam, and my amusement at all of this, while it’s certainly not fleeting, is kind of outweighed by my dismay at being forced to live in a world where people feel they can (and should!) harass me for failing to respond to their unsolicited marketing. And somewhere, Angela is swimming around in a vault filled with gold coins like Scrooge McDuck, because she is smart/unscrupulous enough to take advantage of the fact that there is a subset of people who will receive her missives and think to themselves, “Oh crap! I completely forgot to email Angela back! I admire her persistence.”
It’s a competitive market out there, folks, and it would seem that the people behind those emails from that deposed Nigerian prince have also upped their game. At least based on the email I received last month from Zac Muhammed, Audit staff of HSBC Bank United Kingdom, London branch, who seems to have hired a rather skilled copywriter to draft the email he sent:
I know that this mail will come to you as a surprise since we have not known or met before now, but please, I would like you to treat it like a blood brother affair and with the urgency and secrecy it requires.
Urgency & secrecy? Tell me more!
An investor of mine recently died without naming any next of kin to the fund he deposited in my bank. The amount is 500,000 pounds and banking regulation/legislation in United Kingdom demands that I should notify the fiscal authorities after three years. The above set of facts underscores my reason to seek your permission to have you stand in as the next of kin to the deceased.
Facts? Underscores? This guy MUST be legit. Only a true member of the Audit staff of HSBC Bank United Kingdom, London branch would talk like that.
These funds will be approved and released in your favour as the next of kin if only you will adhere to my instruction and cooperate with me in one accord. I have all the legal and banking details of the deceased client that will facilitate our putting you forward as the claimant/beneficiary of the funds and ultimately transfer of the 0.5M plus interest to any bank account nominated by you.I am prepared to compensate you with a 35% share of the total funds for your efforts.The final details will be given upon receipt an affirmation of your desire to participate.
Man, 35% of half a million sure would buy a lot of discounted online medication.