Friday, 12 April 2013


Today's subject is Spam. Sadly not the delicious canned meat based product of delight that has brightened up many a post pub trip home, but the email kind & related issues.

First though, here are a few tins of the great foodstuff itself, from the inside of one of my kitchen cupboards. I always keep a few tins handy in case of emergencies e.g. running out of ham or cheese tasters. Accordingly I always know I have a salt laden snack available to me, and can sleep a little easier because of it.

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam,
Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam.

Spam - well to most people that means junk e-mail, but to me it is junk in any form. What comes through the door, over the telephone, in fact any form of unwanted attention at all could fall into this category. Now in this sphere, some things are getting better, and some are getting worse. That's in my personal experience anyway.

So what comes through the door? Lots of fast food menus - fairly useful depending on what they are - chinese good, indian bad. Lots of people offering to clean my windows, do my gardening etc. Sounds like a good idea, but in practice a bad one in my personal experience. Various leaflets on therapy and such like. Most of this lot goes straight into the recycling bin, or if they have been thoughtful enough to only print on one side of the paper it is something for the kids to scribble on to stop them nicking paper out of my cupboard. I know it's you Ollie, don't try and deny it. As for unsolicited mail, I don't get too much of that these days, thankfully moving house a few times over the years has put paid to that. I am sure a fair amount still goes next door. The prime irritation on that front is the constant badgering of me by Virgin Media to install their cable service - they have tried every trick in the book to disguise their mailings to make them look official so I will open them. Have started sending them back now, with crude "Please remove me from your mailing list - I am not interested" scrawled on the back in black marker pen, perhaps they will get the message eventually.

I don't care how good their service purports to be, I have a long memory and anyone who remembers the horror that was com-tel or NTL which were virgin's predecessors and had the good sense to switch elsewhere is not going to go back now, no matter how much re-branding you do.

The other thing I get a lot of is unsolicited letters from so called racing "professionals" claiming to have lots of inside information, and if I give them lots of money for their racing tips I could make a fortune. Now doubtless some people will fall for this rubbish, but quite honestly, why on earth would I need something like that? If anything they should be asking me for tips, I'm quite confident I could out-tip any single one of them and that's without the benefit of any "inside" information - largely fictitious no doubt. Just because you have got an address in Newmarket or Lambourn doesn't make you the guru of gambling any more than it makes me a leading fashion guru just because I live practically on the doorstep of Bicester Village.

As for people knocking on the door, I don't get a lot of that, though I did have the local Conservative party council candidate knock on my door the other evening asking for my vote. Unfortunately I was having a dump at the time, so I wasn't best pleased at having to get off the toilet, but I took the leaflet anyway which came in handy.

Email spam - now that used to be a nightmare - but has improved enormously over the years with the introduction of spam filters. I am sure you will recall the plethora of crap coming into your mailboxes, fortunately most of my is caught at internet level before it is downloaded to my computer. Obviously the odd bit gets through but it is no longer the problem it used to be. Very little of that was ever of interest to me anyway, I mean come on, let's face it, what on earth would I need a penis extension or viagra for? Actually if any of my exes are reading this and looking for an opportunity to put the boot in, please don't answer that.

Just had a look in the Spam folder online and it's full of that sort of thing, along with a lot of stuff from banks saying to contact them because my account has been suspended. Really? Does anyone fall for that stuff? Did anyone ever? I suppose someone must do, otherwise there would be no point sending it. I just figure that anyone sufficiently advanced enough to be able to have a bank account and also use the internet would be able to see through such things, who knows?

As for emails from companies you have dealt with, they all have an unsubscribe option at the bottom of the email. Now one of the bits of advice given to me in the early days of the internet, is don't click unsubscribe as then they will know your account is active and send you more. Well whether or not that was true in the past, it isn't now, and I have successfully got rid of most of the companies that were clogging up my mailbox, e.g. someone I once bought a pair of shorts from six years ago, I don't need your weekly letters any more. In short, it works.

I still have a few favourite companies on there, happy to receive stuff from Amazon, as they email me about DVD offers and such like, however some things are a little silly. For example, having bought a £300 Kitchen Aid for Claire for Christmas, they seem to like to send me more messages offering me more of the same. I think it's fair to say most households don't need more that one of those, but there you go.

There's also a lot of PPI stuff, and that brings me on to my main bugbear at the moment. These bloody texts and phone calls on the subject. And there's no way to stop them. The text messages always come from a mobile number but it changes every time, so no point in blocking it. Same for the phone calls. It seems also that being a member of the TPS (Telephone Preference Service) has no effect at blocking the calls on the landline. It is a bloody nuisance. I am getting at least one a day, and it makes me incredibly angry. I dislike having to rush to the phone before the BT1571 kicks in (which I never managed to disable despite countless calls, messages to BT) to answer it just to hear another bloody automated message. The worse thing about these messages is that you can't even tell them to F*** off because it's just a machine!

Apparently the Government is aware of the issue, and is planning to do something about it. I won't hold my breath.

Right, enough about that, think I'll go and open a tin of Spam now for my lunch.

If you have enjoyed reading this blog, please take a look at my books on Amazon (Paperback & Kindle), where you can read lots more of the same! Click here.

Jason xx

1 comment:

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