Spam: They still don’t get it

Michael got a note from Dell today, shortly after buying a computer at work. It starts:

Thanks for doing business with Dell! As a gesture of our appreciation, you’re receiving a subscription to the weekly Dell Small Business E-mail Update. Every issue is loaded with great deals on the latest technology — from systems and servers to TVs and printers.

Just keep watching your inbox for exclusive promotions in the weeks to come.

A "gesture of appreciation"? "Watch your inbox"? Maybe on Planet Dell people fall for this, but most of the people I know just delete it and end up thinking less of a company that cares that little about their attention.

I got a call today from The Better Business Bureau. Jeannie wanted me to call her back–reason unspecified. I did. It turns out that her job is to voicemail spam a list of more than a hundred people every day, hoping they will join the BBB. When I pointed out that this bait and switch was surely injuring their good name and that spamming people to get them to buy a membership didn’t seem quite to their ethical standards, she got all "that’s my job" on me. She pointed out that my number wasn’t unlisted and it was legal for her to call me. I guess it is. Though I’m not sure it’s productive or helpful.

She pointed out that some people she called actually buy a membership. When I asked about the people who didn’t, the ones who felt as though they’d been tricked, she didn’t really have an answer. I think she deserves a better job.