Saturday, July 9, 2011

IT'S MY OWN FAULT...

Well, partly... I was innocently googling a wonderful prose poem by Charles Baudelaire (I won't link to it here because the same thing might happen to you, but it's called "L'Etranger") and got this wildly blinking thing that informed me that I was the "millionth visitor" and that I had "won" a $1,000 gift certificate to Walmart. Well, I'm not so naive as to believe this nonsense, but I could literally find no way out of the manic page without clicking on the "click here" tab. I promise, I tried every which way. In desperation, I clicked to proceed and found myself immediately in this maze of pages asking me for all kinds of information. I'll admit it, it was in part the promise of a $1,000 gift certificate, but I persevered for a while. It was only once we got to the sales pitches that I decided, enough of this, and simply quit my browser.

I should have known to do this sooner. A half hour later, the telephone calls started coming in. Insurance companies. Several, in quick succession. I was, I regret to say, a little angrier with each caller. Then I came down to my office and found a dozen emails, all wanting to persuade me to change my car insurance plan. I responded to each with a curt note, requesting removal from their email lists; but I have to say I have little confidence in their compliance with my request. I'm anticipating a further squall, and perhaps weeks or months of spam.

My fault, okay. A bit of greed involved, honestly, which got me just hooked enough to lower my defenses. Checking back on the page, however (hours later, now, I discover not greatly to my surprise that I'm still the "millionth visitor") I can still find no way out of the trap without shutting down the browser. This sales tactic is dishonest to say the least, if not outright abusive.

This is the second time something similar has happened to me. The first, as I recall, a while ago, came with the offer of a free I-Pad. What a chump! I bought into it, and brought well-deserved misery upon myself. And, needless to add, no I-Pad. It should have been adequate warning. But no, I got suckered in again. There's something to be learned here about my instinctive, human greed. It's not that I'm unaware of it: I watch it coming up, I know in my heart that I'm about to make a fool of myself and that I'll have to pay for it. (This is called "karma", no?) But then I go right ahead and chase after my illusory desire. Next time, I tell myself, take a breath... and head for the exit button before it's too late.

There may be a Santa Claus, Veronica. But there's no free lunch.

4 comments:

John Torcello said...

The web page that keeps popping up for me says:

' I have won the right to pay no more taxes! I don't have to participate in a majority democratic government anymore! I can cut my costs and I won't even have to pay my bills! Click here!...

You'll never guess where it took me (lol) and the kind of relentless calls (and requests for money) I received from whoever/whatever afterward...

It IS my own fault!!

PeterAtLarge said...

Ha, John! So I'm not the only one!

eva kolosvary-stupler said...

Why would you want a gift certificate to Walmart anyway?

PeterAtLarge said...

Oh, Eva, I don't know...