You Haven’t Got Mail!

So I was walking home from the bus and noticed a small envelope in every driveway. They were rectangular and about the size of any prepaid card. What’s this? I thought. A gift for all the residents of the neighborhood? Yeah, I’m not that naive; I knew it was an advertising ploy, and a cheap one at that. Whoever was behind it was too cheap to mail us their advertising. Instead of paying for a bunch of cheap postcards they could mail out they spent money on gas and time driving around the neighborhood throwing out a bunch of small envelopes they’d bought. At least they were smart enough to know they’d be breaking the law if they put the envelopes in peoples’ mailboxes. Mailboxes are only for stamped mail delivered by the postal service, although misuse of a mailbox isn’t exactly a frequently prosecuted crime. I do believe the FBI tried to pin it on Al Capone at one point but he successfully argued that he’d put a stamp on the mackerel wrapped in newspaper he left in the mailbox of his client, and the judge got the message. Here’s another fact about mail: if you get anything in the mail that you didn’t specifically order you’re under no obligation to pay for it. I learned this when I worked in a library mailroom and companies would sometimes ship unsolicited books to the library and expect to be paid for them, and I’d send back a nice letter referencing the specific law that addresses unsolicited mail. I still have that letter and occasionally send it to Nigerian princes who email me, but that’s another story.
Anyway I got a little excited as I got closer to home. I wasn’t going to steal an envelope from any of my neighbors, but I figured I’d find out what the advertising ploy was as soon as I got home. Except when I got home there wasn’t one in our driveway. It’s one thing to get a cheap sales pitch thrown in your driveway but I was too upset about being rejected to think of what the other thing could be. Why were we not good enough? What were we, chopped liver? Maybe not–I like chopped liver and I’m grateful to Ann Koplow for providing some background on that saying, which I think should be changed to, What am I, steamed broccoli?
Anyway the next day I found one of the envelopes in the street where someone had thrown it, or maybe they drove over it and dropped it somewhere. It was a business card some kind of house cleaning service and I felt better that they obviously felt our house didn’t need cleaning. It was exterior cleaning; if it had been interior cleaning I’d have gotten really paranoid about how they knew the inside of our house didn’t need cleaning. And there was a glass pebble in there to give the envelopes some heft for throwing.

And I want that company to know I’m keeping the pebble.

8 Comments

  1. Tom

    Wouldn’t it be funny if the Nigerian prince thing was real and that poor guy is just waiting for someone to FINALLY take up his offer for free money? “What is wrong with these people,” he’s saying, “Doesn’t anybody give a damn anymore?!”

    I mean, I think that’d be funny.

    What would be even funnier would be to go to all your neighbors, collect all the glassy stones, and deliver them to the mailbox of the cleaning company with an unsolicited bill for the bounty. I mean, I think that’d be funny, too. 😉

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It would be hilarious if the Nigerian prince thing were real, although there is at least one guy who’s responded to that sort of email just to see what would happen and while hilarity ensued there was no money made. And I once replied to a Nigerian prince email by saying, “What kind of bonehead do you think I am?” and I got a follow up addressed to “Dr. Bonehead”.
      Now collecting all the glassy stones and delivering them to the cleaning company would be funny. The unsolicited bill pushes it up to the level of genius.

      Reply
  2. Jay

    Maybe your reputation got out!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      If I have a reputation for being incredibly clean I’d like to know how it got out there because it was obviously not from someone who knows me.

      Reply
  3. the orangutan librarian

    hehehe well I guess that’s a compliment that they didn’t think your house needed cleaning 😂

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I still wonder how they could see the inside of my house, but maybe it was just a lucky guess.

      Reply
  4. Ann Koplow

    Thanks for all the messages in this post, Chris, which made me feel like the opposite of chopped liver.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I always enjoy the messages in your comments, which are never steamed broccoli.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: