I wish I had an unlisted number, with all the robocalls about my vehicle warranty.
If you have a pulse, you know the drill. The phone rings. Caller ID displays Hendersonville or Spruce Pine or Forest City so you’ll think it’s someone from this region.
For a while I thought the calls had something to do with my vehicle being fairly new until a friend told me that she gets the same calls regularly. Her car is 10 years old.
There are days when I receive three or more of these nuisance calls. Invariably they ring when I’m doing something else: cooking or driving or taking a shower or while I’m on another call.
And don’t tell me to be placed on a do-not-call list. I did that years ago, but the calls keep coming.
There was a time when the unsolicited calls were all about selling cable TV service or phone plans. Those solicitations went the way of the telegram when the scammers figured out people have cut the cable and the landline.
During election years, the calls multiplied. I’d hear from various celebrities recorded to endorse a candidate or a particular cause, such as the Second Amendment rights or abortion rights or immigration reform.
“Don’t pick up until you see who it is,” my husband would say.
He rarely answered the phone, even if it was for him.
Still it was amazing to be “contacted” by national candidates or members of their family, or being singled out to hear from former officer holders. Those were the days when we had a landline that was listed in the directory, which meant open season on our phone line.
I should have recorded these calls for posterity. I want to say that Charlton Heston might have “dialed” our number. I’m sure the First Lady did.
Back then I took it in stride, didn’t catch my hair on fire. I saw some humor in it, comparing celebrity robocalls with friends. I’d heard from Laura Bush; they’d heard from Hillary Clinton. It was back when you could actually joke about something without the other person setting their hair on fire. You’ll never guess who called me the other night! How did they get my number?
These days the robocalls are as unentertaining as life is serious. Hearing a female robot telling me my car is out of warranty isn’t quite the same thing as hearing from say, Ivanka Trump.
But it’s not just the calls that make me crazy. Now that the election cycle is over, I’m still getting mailed solicitations including packets of mailing labels with my name misspelled or shopping lists or notecards. Are we supposed to keep this stuff? Throw it away?
And what about the coin in the envelope window?
To be honest, I hesitate to give money to any cause knowing that my mailbox will be full forevermore. How is it that I give to a cause and they are compelled to remind me that I haven’t given to them this week?
Boys Town popped up in my mailbox a few times recently, no doubt linked to my ongoing support of Children’s Aid Society of New York. Charities have long memories. That group has been on my gift radar since they helped locate a record related to my great-grandmother and her brother, who were helped by the group back in 1860. An annual donation is my way to pay homage to the folks who helped these children ride an orphan train to a new life in the Midwest.
Years ago I made a donation to a humane society in memory of my cousin’s husband’s mother. I have no doubt that the humane society is a worthy cause, but I live 750 miles away and am not compelled to repeat the gift. It took them a while to figure that out.
Nonprofits are short on cash. I like to help when I can. But being bombarded by mailings is a turnoff. If they can afford to waste all that paper and postage, do they need my help?
If you want to get my attention, send me a handwritten letter—yes, with a cross-out or a misspelled word. Hand-address the envelope. Make me know it comes from a real person with a real heart, not some computer linked to a mega printer.
Make it personal. Humble. Genuine. Make it impossible to resist, like Publisher’s Clearinghouse. I’ll admit I’ve put a stamp on a couple of envelopes with my winner stickers and coupons to ensure I’m in the running for $5,000 a week for the rest of my life.
PCH says there’s no need to order, but they sure make you sift through a lot of ads to make you reconsider. I haven’t ordered any magazines or magic slippers or deluxe cutlery to find the stickers to attach to my entry.
Just two weeks ago I sent off the “final-final” response to make sure the Prize Patrol doesn’t overlook me. I’m as avaricious as the next person.
Last February, a man named Marc Friedman of Irvine, CA became the 2020 winner of $5,000 a week for life. I looked it up. He overcame the odds of 2.4 billion to one of winning the super prize.
And then there’s Lana Sandlin of Largo, FL who pocketed $1 million last August. Not bad for the cost of a couple of postage stamps.
This year’s super winner will be announced on Feb. 28 on NBC. Wouldn’t it be cool to put Newton, NC on the map?
I think so too.