Free Gourmet Meal … Tales from Junk-mail-land

I confess … I’m a “Junk Mail Junkie!”

I sort through and actually read what people have been kind enough to send to me.

Reading junk mail’s way more fun than reading online comments by Truck-Stop-Interstate-Traveler-Critics about the quality of American truck stop food … and then responding by touting truck stop food as one of my favorites.

The fact that I don’t eat in any truck stops is immaterial.  But I digress …


In my early junk mail years, I declared a silent war against those who senselessly wasted money and tree killing paper in an attempt to connect with me.

I marked each unopened envelope “Return to Sender” and dropped it back in the box at the post office.

Then junk mailers gained an advantage … they convinced the PO to no longer return any “refused junk mail.”


Never one to admit defeat … I decided I would read the mail to determine if it could ever be helpful – old blind pigs pick up an ear of corn every now and then … had any entertainment value – some of it’s so bad it’s hilarious … or, gods forbid, any redeeming literary value – a big fat zero.

In some instances … armed with my red pen I edited the writing and returned it … first class.

Occasionally I offered my “editing services” … for a nominal fee … and suggested they might improve their response rate if they hired me to “eliminate the egregious errors in their sloppy writing.”

No one ever responded.


Now, I’ve added a different dimension to my junk mail war effort.

With the help of “Doctor Google” … the digital purveyor of knowledge that heretofore only the oldest, wisest and nicest librarians possessed … I check on random offers.

With just a few key strokes, I can separate junk mail “wheat from chaff” … the good from the bad … the legit from the illegit.


My best find was a company that offered me a “Free Gourmet Meal at the Golden Corral.”

If you’re reading the words “gourmet meal” and “Golden Corral” in the same paragraph … you should be immediately suspicious.

I turned to Doc Google … and I found a great big “Emeril BAM!”

The first three items on Google were Better Business Bureau warnings … followed by comments from irate and bitter folks who not only ate the “free gourmet meal” … but also forked over hard earned dollars for the product promoted.

Unfortunately their complaints didn’t include the “gourmet-ness” of the Golden Corral.

Just sayin’ …

4 thoughts on “Free Gourmet Meal … Tales from Junk-mail-land

  1. Dear Richard, Good column, but I sense your attention to junk mail is merely a symptom of a deeper issue: you may be a compulsive reader. Please seek help with your closest in-house therapist, as this condition may lead to paper cuts, loss of contact with your loved ones, and Doc Google deductibles not covered by Medicare. It’s a slippery slope.
    Write on!

  2. There’s something even better than a free gourmet meal at Golden Corral?
    God (not Dr. Google) only knows what THAT might be…though boiled peanuts do leap to mind.
    Still, you are clearly having WAY TOO MUCH FUN with your junk mail so, for a small fee, I’ll happily send ya all of mine, too!

  3. What I love are the return addresses, and any other “official-sounding” stuff they print on the envelope to try to trick you into opening the letter. “CLAIMS DIVISION” “EXECUTIVE ACCOUNT DEPARTMENT” “BUREAU OF OFFICIAL FUNDS DISTRIBUTION”. It goes on and on. Like you, I find they provide me with a good laugh… 😀

Comments are closed.