Surratt: Dealing with the junk mail

Published 5:37 pm Wednesday, October 13, 2021

I have to laugh sometimes at the lengths companies will go through to get people to read their junk mail.

I think of this topic as the Dec. 7 Medicare enrollment deadline approaches for people over 65 and the competition gets hot and heavy between companies to sign folks up.

Every day our mailbox is full of official-looking envelopes showing titles like “Medicare Headquarters,” or “Benefits Section,” giving you the impression that the contents inside the envelope are of some serious nature with information that will have a serious effect on your benefits. When you open the envelope and read the enclosed letter’s opening sentences, the marketing ploy is solved and you recognize the whole thing is an attempt to get you to change your supplemental coverage.

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The vast majority of those (read all) that my wife and I receive go into our “important file,” which is a wicker basket lined with a plastic shopping bag. My wife is quite happy with her plan and I’ve already decided to change mine and have found a new provider.

But the flood of junk mail was filling our mailbox long before we reached and surpassed 65.

Whether it was sales pitches for insurance, a miracle cure or a push to get me to borrow money at a great rate from an unknown finance company, everything came to the mailbox and still does, including the numerous cards wanting us to buy an extended warranty for our cars that will cover any expense on a car with less than 100,000 miles. Both our cars have more than 200,000 miles.

And then there is the mass mailing expert, Publishers Clearing House, with its message that you qualify for the final grand prize.

Practically every day I can go to the mailbox and find the multiple envelopes telling me or my wife that we’ve made the final cut and we have to send whatever by some deadline in order to have the Prize Patrol show up at our humble home with the flowers, the camera crew and the oversize check. At least the lottery allows you some privacy when you win the Powerball or Mega Millions. When you win a butt load of money you need some privacy so the vultures in your family will stay away.

Meanwhile, junk mail proliferation has gotten worse thanks to technology — our cell phones and computers have over the past several years become the latest vehicle for junk mailers. We get junk texts, we get junk email, better known as spam (with apologies to the Hormel meat product).

I have received all sorts of spam over the years from conspiracy theories to “world famous experts” I never heard of to Russian girls looking for love, a trip to the U.S. and a wedding ring.

I once did a column on what I called “my Russian girlfriends” who sent me email letters trying to convince me to bring them to the U.S. My only thought was that the letters were being written by some hairy Russian wrestler or some washed-up shot putter.

But now the ladies are gone and the plain junk mail continues and I pray for it all to disappear.


About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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