Sadly, I'm not referring to the stuff of childhood that came in oddly-shaped tins to be sliced and fried in unctuous batter by school dinner ladies, even though it was probably some of the most, er, interesting stuff I've ever had to eat. No, friends, it's the other Spiced Ham I'm talking about. Am I the only person getting more and more junk in their in-box these days? The spam merchants (note no upper case for it this time) are busier and busier, and ever more creative. So I'm addressing them directly. Just to save you the trouble of filling my in-box with stuff I'm never, ever going to respond to, guys, here's a few things that might help you decide whether or not to bother me next time.
1. I know who I bank with. Therefore, I am unlikely to open mails from other banks asking me to check the details of my non-existent accounts with them.
2. Paypal only ever addresses people by their user names. I may well be a 'valued customer,' but I'm valued because of the business I put their way, and not because I'm so dense I fall for the 'valued customer' line and instantly fill in an on-line form giving my personal info to any old Tom, Dick or Mary.
3. I tend to remember where and when I booked hotel rooms. It's not something that often slips my mind. The chances of me exclaiming, 'bugger me, I clean forgot about those three days I booked in the Sunshine Inn in Uttar Pradesh, thanks for reminding me!' are pretty slim. So I'm not going to respond to your dodgy email.
4. I have never, ever been asked to fill in an online form from the Post Office, FedEx, UPS or any other national or international delivery courier you can name, just so they will deliver a much-anticipated parcel to me. And if I ever had to, I bet they'd know my name and address. May I direct you to 'valued customer,' above?
5. I have never played bingo, poker, dice, Happy Families or any other game for money on-line, and I'm not about to start. So stop asking me. What I may get up to in a darkened room in the back of a pub after last orders is another matter entirely, and my business alone.
6. A special word for a particular pharmacy apparently based in Canada. I won't be shopping with you. If I ever need what you sell, I'll pop down the road to Boots. And for a few of your more specialist items, well, here in the UK we have the National Health Service for that sort of thing. Not to mention Soho.
7. I am sorry you're about to lose all your family millions due to a coup/revolution/change of government, but no, I won't be stashing it away for you for a cut in a year's time, despite the fact that all I have to do to take advantage of both your distress and generosity is fill in this on-line for with my bank details.....(etc etc etc ad nauseam.)
8. Lastly, I've been around the block enough to know that 'an amazing opportunity!' from a complete stranger is anything but amazing. Or it might be amazing, but probably for an entirely different set of reasons.
Okay, I know nothing I say or do will make any difference. I'll still be cleaning out my in-box every morning until the day I die. But I can't be the only one who finds herself fondly remembering the days when Spam was something your Mum had in the back of the cupboard for emergencies. Sigh. Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.