January 19, 2014 |
An off-and-on customer of OfficeMax, Mike Seay has gotten the office supply company's junk mail for years. But the mail that the grieving Lindenhurst, Ill., father said he got from OfficeMax last week was different. It was addressed to "Mike Seay, Daughter Killed in Car Crash. " Strange as that sounds, the mail reached the right guy. Seay's daughter Ashley, 17, was killed in a car crash with her boyfriend last year. OfficeMax somehow knew. And in a world where bits of personal data are mined from customers and silently sold off and shuffled among corporations, Seay appears to be the victim of some marketing gone horribly wrong.
September 11, 2013 |
Tammie, like many people, receives catalogs she doesn't want. Lots of them. She wants to know: How did these guys find her? And what can she do to get rid of them? Finding people is the easy part. Marketers routinely buy and sell mailing lists. There are also list brokers who make a living selling consumers' contact info, sliced and diced into every possible demographic and personal interest. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions Getting rid of an unwanted marketer can be a chore.
February 8, 2013 |
Here's my response to the U.S. Postal Service canceling Saturday mail service: What a relief. Hey, I love the idea of getting wonderful things in the mail: big fat checks or torrid declarations of love (from someone I want to hear from). But the letter carrier doesn't deliver those things anymore, for the most part. Money you've earned gets deposited directly into your bank account. Lovers text and call. The last exciting piece of mail I got was my W-2 form. That means I can start the process of getting my income tax refund -- which won't come by mail but will be, yes, electronically deposited.
February 6, 2013 |
So the Postal Service is pulling the plug on Saturday mail delivery . And all across America, millions of folks are saying: “Who cares? I've got email and Twitter and Facebook; I pay my bills online.” Sorry, guys, count me out. My reaction is -- well, let a great 20th century American philosopher say it for me. Here's Janis Joplin's “ Piece Of My Heart ”: “Take another little piece of my heart now, baby! Oh, oh, break it! Break another little bit of my heart now, darling, yeah, yeah, yeah.” I can't help it. I love mail.
November 29, 2012
Re "Fixing the filibuster," Editorial, Nov. 25 Indeed, we should rein in this obnoxious abuse. As you write, "Senators who want to mount a filibuster should have just one chance of doing so" - preferably only once in six years, in my opinion. As Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein make clear in their book, "It's Even Worse Than It Looks," today's senators use the filibuster infinitely more often than their predecessors did. Worse yet, they have added the shameful custom of the "hold," by which a single senator can secretly stop any legislation or nomination from being debated or coming to a vote.
November 29, 2012
Re "Lender uses fear as a sales pitch," Column, Nov. 27 I sometimes receive the letters attempting to trick homeowners into expensive refinancing that David Lazarus warns about, and there's a sure-fire way to tell if they are legitimate without even opening the envelope: If the indicia (the box printed in the upper right corner) says "standard mail," immediately throw it into your recycle bin. "Standard mail" is the Postal Service's name for junk mail. Any legitimate company would send mail about potential problems with your mortgage as first-class mail, not at lower-rate bulk prices.