mailed pink children’s underwear and other poor decisions in marketing

now while i do think i have some understanding of the concept of selling a product and/or service to a consumer that might not yet realize he NEEDS said product and/or service – after all, Dunkin’ Donuts DID totally rip off my excellent “random expository song to sell beverages” idea – i wouldn’t go so far as to claim to be any sort of expert on the matter. that being said, i know enough to know some things you should NOT do in an effort to sell me a product or service:

waking me up far too early and claiming i am not who i say i am

this is actually the story of why it’s pointless for me to have a home phone, because i never answer it. well, that’s not 100% accurate, but this part is: i refuse, REFUSE, to answer it before 10 AM. why? because our local shitty newspaper won’t stop calling me before 10 AM and claiming i’m a past subscriber that needs to renew his subscription. if i answer the phone then, i know it will be them. i could also make a case for not needing ANY phone (it seems to be designed solely for people to leave me a message on should they need me to do something for them), but that’s a little sad and, anyway, it would be digressing, and we know i NEVER do that.

the in-the-flesh telephone of your hero janklow
whether or not i actually need it, neither this phone or my schedule is your toy, telemarketers; act accordingly

now, i have no personal vendetta against that newspaper; my parents still subscribe to it and it features things like “local crime stories” and “pictures of my Irish sidekick’s pit bull terrier dressed up in ridiculous outfits” that make us laugh (or cry, whatever; for his part, that pit bull certainly seems depressed in the photo) from time to time. what i DO take issue with, though, are a couple of their policies about renewals:

01. phone calls requesting former subscribers seem to all take place between the hours of 8 AM and 10 AM. i don’t know about everyone else, but your hero janklow works a late shift and that is my sleeping time (as are the hours of 10 AM to 3 PM on the weekends);

02. when i tell the telemarketers that i am not the person that had the subscription (and apparently, my phone number has been used by 4 or 5 of these past subscribers), they at first ask if i’m sure (what the fuck, man), then presume i am another former subscriber by another name (i’m not), and then start just giving me the default sales pitch.

now, i understand the concept behind trying to sell me your paper anyway (i’m already on the phone, so hey, make the most of it, salesman), but what’s up with CONFIRMING that i’m not someone that i’ve told you i’m not? maybe i’m just sour because these are 99% of the phone calls i receive.

getting so incensed at my refusal to purchase that you yell at me over the phone

now, while i hate dealing with telemarketers because i’m not going to buy their product and, thus, know that ANY time they spend talking to me is wasted, i try not to be rude about it. they’re just doing their job, objectionable as it may seem, and there’s no percentage in being rude just to be rude. generally, after a succinct “let me save you the trouble: there’s no way i will be giving you money today,” they say “have a nice day” and end the call, and the crisis is averted. however, the key word there is “generally.”

however, on one occasion i had a heated debate with a credit card company’s telemarketer who would NOT get off the goddamn phone. he was pushing some service i could sign up for that would save me money (hah) and i wasn’t having it because those things never work, and yet he would not stop arguing this point, which eventually resulted in us having roughly the following childish exchange:

janklow: “again, i am not interested in this service.”
telemarketer: “but it will save you money! DON’T YOU WANT TO SAVE MONEY? WHY DON’T YOU WANT TO SAVE MONEY?”
telemarketer: “WELL- well, okay, fine, okay.”

Glengarry Gary Ross or something like that
i would admittedly be more sympathetic to telemarketers if i believed that they had been screamed at earlier in the day by Alec Baldwin to “always be closing,” but, sadly, i don’t

now, there are really two questions here: why would a telemarketer think that he would convince me to pay for a service by yelling at me and calling me stupid? and also, why didn’t i just hang up the phone a lot earlier on this guy? the world may never know.

that whole “pink children’s underwear” thing

okay, apologies in advance to anyone that’s heard this anecdote before; this is one of those stories i have been known to perform on command in the past (others include my various escapades with turkeys and some workplace anecdotes), so it may have gotten around already with the 2 or 3 people that actually read this website. redundancy ahoy! but if you haven’t heard this before… well, get ready to hear about the worst ad campaign of all time.

so the thing about being janklow is that i try to give money to charitable organizations on a regular basis; personally, i tend to support groups that worry about bats (which are awesome no matter WHAT Smilez says about them), firearm ownership and related rights, dogs that might or might not get killed in a pound somewhere, whatever those Salvation Army kettles support, and elephant sanctuaries. no, that’s right, i’m talking about sanctuaries that allow female former show elephants to live free and eat whatever elephants eat. this is not a joke at all; in fact, i made some totally bitter remarks about groups that deserve money less than these elephants recently that i won’t get into right now because, hey, the mood here is light and we shouldn’t ruin that. suffice to say this: elephants get the money.

ANYWAY, the catch is that some of these organizations supplement their income(s) by selling their mailing lists to a mass of random organizations, and then people like me get approximately 13000000 requests for money during the year. that’s right, VFW, i’m talking about you. this is why i will never give you any more money. because you’re the reason why i got the single worst marketing move ever mailed to my house: a manila envelope containing a letter and a pair of small, pink, little girl’s underwear. yeah.

defend Brooklyn
while the underwear that came in the mail were almost nothing like this, i have selected this “pink panties” picture for a reference that a couple of you might note

you see, some group (i believe it was the Southwest Indian Foundation, but i cannot recall for sure) decided that the best way to convince me that i needed to give them money to purchase underwear for American Indian children was to send a tiny pair of girl underwear to my house. forget that this is creepy on a couple of levels: one where the underwear could end up in the wrong hands, and another that when the guys at SWIF got together and thought “how can we raise money,” one of them immediately thought “LITTLE GIRL UNDERWEAR!” if these children need underwear so badly, why is ANY of it being mailed to me? what exactly about the sight of little underwear is suppose to motivate me to dig deep and give to this charity?

needless to say, their request was not successful. i hear they might be kind of a fake charity anyway.

also, i tried to find the original package of letter and underwear that was sent to me to quote it and take a photo of it for this update, because that would have been BEYOND ridiculous, but alas, i couldn’t find a trace of it.

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