Inconveniences of the modern age

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 16, 2000

This modern age of zip and pronto finger-tip conveniences shall be the death of us all, if it's not frozen in place and pushed backward on the time machine.


an ad in one of the nation's top slick magazines says "Give our set of New Frontier Novels a 30-day test.

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We'll send you one sample, postage-free for the test.

If not perfectly happy with the book within that period, send it back postage-collect and we'll never bother you again."

Some of them are even better than that.

They'll offer you- at absolutely no cost whatever- a battery-operated calculator (battery included) with a year's subscription to Flash Magazine, an amateur photographer's delight.

The cost is a minuscule $17.50 per year, for 12 copies.

The top cake-getters, though, are the burning inducements that come each month with your credit-card bill.

They'll offer you a family-crested crystal goblet, with your name inscribed in old English, at absolutely no cost.

Then, since the die is already set, you can get a set of these wonderful goblets for a mere $8.95 each.

Isn't that outstanding?

All you have to do is tell them how many.

A Greenville couple opted recently for the free goblet, then sent a letter to the company, requesting that their name be stricken from the list, as they did not like the first goblet.

Know what happened?

You've probably guessed right.

At 30 day intervals UPS would deliver two more of the pesky goblets, and the credit-card billing grew apace, eventually getting out of reach.

Well sir, it took a copious amount of correspondence- rife with threats- and practically an act of Congress to halt the unending stream of goblets.

After the deliveries ceased, it required a Herculean effort to get credit for the unwanted goblets- even after they were returned.

The reason the goblets were not refused on delivery?

The recipients both worked, and the deliveries were simply left at their door-step.

Don't let anyone kid you, friend, by advertisements that say they'll never bother you again.

You have been taken in by these various sales, gimmicks and there is no end in sight.

There certainly must be a clearing-house somewhere, wherein the workers sort through names funneled to them (for a price) via various companies.

The names are categorized, sectionalized, and alphabetized, and then made up into mailing lists that in turn are sold to other business houses.

It's kind of like the old pyramid game, only there is never any end to it.

We are destined, it appears, to be plagued throughout our lives with this cancer-like growth of flyers, brochures and other types of sales lures that threaten daily to inundate out postal capabilities.

C'est la vie, says the Frenchman, "it's a way of life" that we must learn to live with.

We've learned to live with it pretty well at my house by simple expedient of throwing away most correspondence- unopened- that does not rate first-class postage.

However, it would be nice, if just once- just one time- all the mail would arrive first-class.