Have you ever gotten onto some company’s mailing list and stayed there for what seemed like eternity? Of course you have. I have amassed a pretty substantial collection of these, with one standing head and shoulders above the rest.
Back in the 1970’s my best friend and I were in high school and got a charge of of signing each other up for the products and services found in the little black and white ads which were found in the backs of magazines like Popular Mechanics.
We had no interest in these products, but it seemed fun (at least in our teenaged-boy-brains) to unleash a torrent of junk mail on each other. The best result I ever got was when I signed my friend Dan up to receive information from The Toledo Institute of Meat Cutting.
Neither of us had the least interest in learning the trade of cutting meat but mailings from this school sounded to me like a perfectly fabulous place from which to receive mail. Dan received materials from that place on a fairly regular basis for at least three years. I feel bad now, duping the poor people in the office of that august institution into believing that my friend had a deep and abiding interest in hacking his own roasts and chops out of recently deceased animals.
I just looked them up – it appears that the school was founded by an advertising guy who knew nothing about meat-cutting, which makes some sense now, looking back on their promotional efforts. anyhow, it closed in 1985 so Dan certainly never got anything from them after that.
I bring all this up because I just got yet another email from SiriusXM, the satellite radio people.
In September of 2011 my Mrs. and I bought a new car. It came equipped from the factory with a satellite-compatible radio and a complementary subscription to SiriusXM that lasted for perhaps three months.
We found it interesting in those three months, but decided that the monthly subscription fees would be far more than the value we would actually get from listening. That vehicle was, for the most part, used in and around a major city so radio reception and station variety was not a terrible problem. And when we travel in the car, we are not “radio people”. We actually do weird stuff like talk to each other. Or, when I am driving and she is napping I love the solitude of a quiet car. Anyhow, it’s not like our alternative was a scratchy AM radio that would pick up little besides News/Talk and the occasional baseball game.
Anyway, we allowed our temporary Sirius subscription to lapse. I expected that the good people at Sirius would try their best to make sure we hadn’t just forgotten to sign up for their essential service, and I was not disappointed. I received email after email in those first several months urging me to correct my negligent oversight. I figured that at some point they, like the Toledo Institute of Meat Cutting, would give up and concentrate on hotter prospects.
I turned out to be wrong. Because just this week I received yet another in this as-yet endless series of “invitations” to reconsider the poor decisions of my past. There are many poor decisions of my past that I would happily revisit if the opportunity were to arise. Our failure to subscribe to SiriusXM is not one of them.
I wish I had saved them all, because I could possibly have assembled this extensive collection of emails into a book by now. Not a book that anyone would actually buy and read, mind you, but a book nonetheless.
In just the past few days I have been urged to “Listen FREE” for the next two weeks. I am always interested in free, at least for something like satellite radio. But in this case “free” isn’t actually “free”. Free in Sirius-World actually means free activation and $5/month for the next year instead of the normal $15.99 monthly charge. Soooo, “FREE” actually translates to “$60”.
I know, I might be able to do the old “let’s sign up and enjoy the free period then cancel before the paid part starts” or the closely related “let’s sign up and enjoy the free period and the deeply discounted first year then cancel before the normal price resumes”. But I have reached the stage in life where satellite radio is just not worth the effort or the attention that this method will require. And besides, we all know that what really happens is that we will forget to cancel in time so they will snooker us into paying for at least a month more than we intended. Sirius – 1; JPC – 0. And since I had to pay for that month, I may as well listen and cancel later. Until we forget that one too, and this becomes just one more of those slow, regular small automatic charges that empty our bank accounts one little teeny nibble at a time. Sirius – game, set, match.
They tried “genuine free” (as opposed to “advertising free”) a few years ago. That one came up about a week before a trip I had planned which would find me driving solo from Indianapolis to Nashville, Tennessee. “OK”, I reasoned, “I can try this for my trip and see how I like it.”
Well I did. I happened upon a channel that played nothing but old radio shows from the days before television took over home entertainment and relegated radio as a place for records and disc jockeys. Some were familiar shows (like Jack Benny”) and others were shows I had never heard of – comedies, mysteries, melodramas, the whole thing. I wish I could remember which show had the episode in which the brain of a murdered man was kept alive in a jar of electrically-charged fluid, and slowly assumed control over the body of the killer. Best revenge ever? Some stories work better without pictures.
Well it was fun and all, but not so fun that I was ready to start authorizing automated monthly transactions with my bank. This was in maybe 2014?
Could my temporary re-activation have re-set all of the traps that Sirius sets out to nab we fence-sitting would-be customers? Or would I still be getting emails even if I had not reactivated in a moment of thrifty weakness?
Perhaps I should start keeping better track so that I can bring you a grand finale to this episode after Sirius has sent me its very last email come-on. Or perhaps I will just keep deleting emails from Sirius XM, all the while wondering if it is possible to mentally control those in the marketing department. That would be Sirius.
Photo Credit – close up of the 1956 DeSoto radio by the author, all rights reserved.