For the last nine years, my insurance agent’s computer has sent me address labels as part of her (slow) drip marketing. For most of those years, the address labels I’ve received have been printed in a format like this:
CARSON, JAMES MIDDLENAME, SUFFIX
1 JIM ST
JIMTOWN, WA 980061234
There are at least three problems with this. First, it’s using my full, legal name as if I had been indicted and a fashion emergency was being issued on the six o’clock news. Second, the ordering of the names is bizarre. I’m thinking the only thing missing is a serial number and a telescreen badgering me to work harder on flexibility and bone density:
Telescreen: “8286 Carson, J! Yes, you! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that. You’re not trying. Lower, please! That’s better, comrade. Now stand at ease, the whole squad, and watch me.
Thirdly, it’s shouting. Shouting indoors, where most mail is read!
They upgraded the software so it inserted a dash in the ZIP+4, but the name was still shouting at me, again in the wrong order. It bugged me enough that I wrote a thoughtful letter thanking her for the labels, but pointed out that they were not useful for their intended purpose – rather, they ended up in the “play stickers” bin. I asked her to fix the name (since it’s appearing on all other correspondence, and that was bothering me most) and “thank you, but it’s unnecessary to send address labels.” (I get plenty of free ones from organizations using the principle of reciprocity to solicit donations.) I took the high road, resisting the urge to go with the obvious make-a-point letter opening:
Dear My Agent Lastname, InsuranceAgentFirstName MaidenName:
I never received a response (not that I expected one), nor was the subject mentioned when I called about my auto insurance last year. (By the way, I saved the equivalent of eight grande mochas by declaring I don’t drive to work every day.)
Today, out of the blue, she sends “A Thank You Gift From Me to You!” good for a “$10 gift card or certificate to the retailer of [my] choice” to:
1 JIM ST
JIMTOWN, WA 98006-1234
It’s a nice gesture, albeit computer-generated.
Omission of my middle name confirms any imaginary charges have been overlooked. The client has been vindicated! Wohoo! (*Ahem.*)
It’s still formally shouting, but the name ordering makes it less forbidding.
The vendor selection is good, including Omaha Steaks, Skydiving and NASCAR. (Seriously.) There was something called bikeshop.com, whose web site is apparently run by people who don’t want customers to successfully bikeshop there. For example, its primary entry portal wouldn’t let me in without providing a secret code. My Special Marketing Partnership Password didn’t work. Not needing steaks or having an urge to plummet, I went with Amazon.com , anticipating a quick gift certificate that I could blow on NaNoWriMo inspiration.
I read the fine print. What I had was a voucher for a gift certificate that I can later use towards a purchase someplace. I can mail the voucher and wait three weeks. Or, as an inconvenience, I can go to the giftcert.com web site and enter in a thirty digit confirmation number, in xxx-yyyyyyyyy-zzz-pppppp-dddddd-qqqq format, and allocate the ten buckaroos among as many vendors as I’d like. (Oh, more temptation!)
After navigating more screens with friendly text like
“To ensure accurate and timely delivery of this e-mail certificate, please confirm that the e-mail address entered above is correct. (Hallmark Insights is not liable for misdirected e-mail due to an incorrect-email address.)”
[…] I understand that Gift Card/Certificate selections are final. […] non-refundable, cannot be exchanged and are not replacable if lost or stolen
Hallmark is the expert at conveying love! I ticked the last waiver of liability, clicked the button and …
Nothing. Voucher redemption will take 7-10 days. That’s a lot of wait for ten dollars’ worth of e-fun. The Hallmark service is not especially impressive at the moment.