Just say the magic word

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been getting spammed by a fancy restaurant in Miami. Mind you, this isn’t my Yahoo inbox I’m talking about. I expect to be spammed there. This fine establishment somehow found out my private e-mail address, the one my friends and family use. I never, ever enter it on a form online, so up ’til now it’s been almost completely spam-free.
I knew better than to click the handy “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the message. Doing so alerts the spammer to the presence of a human being at the other end of the spam pipeline, making one’s e-mail address much more valuable. Clicking “unsubscribe” guarantees that your address will be sold to every spammer known to man, and the tidal wave of penis enlargement and home mortgage refinancing will hit your inbox quicker than you can say “yes, I’ll help you hide your ill-gotten Nigerian gains.”
Being a semi-cagey netizen, I instead looked up the restaurant in the phone book to verify that the place actually existed. No sense in calling a phone number on the spam message if the whole thing’s a complete scam, right? I found that the restaurant actually existed, and I verified things by finding several reviews written by local newspapers.
I called to complain, and the runaround began. Every time Chez Fancypants spammed me, I called to politely complain. Every time, they told me that the person in charge of e-mail marketing was unavailable, had left for the day, hadn’t arrived yet, was busy, or had perished in a tragic blimp accident.
Today, Chez Fancypants excreted spam number nineteen into my nice clean inbox, so I decided to up the ante. Again I called the oh-so-smarmy maitre d’, and discovered that the Spammer-in-Chief was off on a pilgrimage to Yemen. I asked to be removed from the spamvertising hotlist, and again I heard the blasé brush-off beneath the pleasant response.
Ah, the power of the word “blogger.”
When I casually mentioned that I’m a blogger who’s well aware of how tenuous a good business reputation can be, and when I reminded the maitre d’ of what happened to Dan Rather, his tone immediately changed from oily condescension to palpable fear. These days, the spectre of Mike Wallace at the door pales in comparison to “John Hinderaker just sent you an e-mail.”
Said my new best friend, “I’ll get on the phone to our Marketing Director and I’ll send a fax to the e-mail marketing company we use, and tell them to remove your address from the list. What is it, sir, so I can send you confirmation of my success?”
I guess there’s a red phone to Yemen in the kitchen after all.

UPDATE: Just imagine the damage that Wizbang’s Jay Tea could do.

5 comments

  1. deadscot

    It shouldn’t have taken that much effort. I’m glad bloggers are beginning to get some much deserved respect. Hopefully we’ll continue to be a self-policing group that ensures that this new found power doesn’t get abused.
    I’m thinking that after a few calls with no result, I’m looking into legal proceedings to acquire that restaurant…or at least eat free forever. 😉

  2. Jack

    Blogger vengeance is truly a beautiful thing. We at TigerHawk have a tiny fraction of the readership of an esteemed blog such as brainshavings, but that does not mean we cannot experience the same joy. I had a very unsatisfactory experience at the St. Regis Hotel in Houston a couple of weeks ago, and blogged about it in very temperate tones. Within a few hours it had been picked up by Houston’s Clear Thinkers, which is a group blog of Houston lawyers. Heh. It was very satisfying to see that my unfortunate experience as a consumer could translate into lost business for a very expensive hotel, which it almost certainly did.

  3. Jay Tea

    I very carefully did NOT post the toll-free number of the spammer, nor did I link to his page where it appears… but I saved both, and the temptation is ENORMOUS.
    And I greatly appreciate your kind words. It still freaks me out whenever anyone casually tosses out references to my “power” or “influence.” I’m just a flippin’ hobo bumming a ride on the mighty freight train that is Wizbang (with Kevin as engineer), and the thought that I might actually hold any sort of sway or clout quite frankly terrifies me. What the hell kind of a screwed-up world are we living in where people like ME are considered “movers and shakers?”
    I think I need to go step quietly away from the keyboard now…
    J.

  4. Puddle Pirate

    Aw, heck, I didn’t reveal anything in my post either for the same reason. But a veiled threat to do so … well, it scared the bad guy straight, so where’s the harm? You have notoriety and visibility, which can be powerful if used judiciously. Give it a try.