I am a fan of Santa Claus. However, he, his North Pole crew plus some complete strangers are flooding my e-mail inbox every day. They are sending me offers for all kinds of unneeded products, neat toys and 'Santa letters' to deliver to my children. And I don't email complete strangers.
I know Santa means well, but my children are 31 and 33 years old. I will delete his messages until I begin to have grandchildren. Hopefully, Mr. Claus and I might do some business when that time comes!
Then, I receive e-mails from local and national banks explaining there are some fishy (pfishy?) things happening with my bank accounts. The trouble is that I don't bank with any of them. I tell myself my business is none of their business.
So, e-mail spam is really getting me upset. On a daily basis, my trigger finger deletes at least 100 messages from people, places and things I've never met. I hope I don't accidentally delete e-mails from my actual friends or business acquaintances. If I don't reply to them, they might become my ex-friends and former business acquaintances.
So, please don't take it personally but I only want to get e-mails from people whose identity I recognize. If I know you, I definitely want to share your happy news. Tell me who is talking, fighting, marrying, divorcing, and having kids. I love juicy gossip! I won't even get mad if you remind me that I've missed your birthday or anniversary. I must take great pleasure in feeling guilt.
I do have some special advice for those who do want to e-mail me. Here is my special list of requests to avoid if you don't want to be deleted.
* At the present time, I don't want to date a handsome guy from the next city. I haven't told my husband yet and I don't think he would appreciate that.
* I do not wish to digest any more medicine than I currently swallow. Therefore, stop sending me information on Viagra, weight loss products to help me lose 15 pounds in one week or less, and the best abdominal equipment in the whole world. Wrinkle products, however, are a completely different matter if I will look 20 years younger in a month or less.
* If you live in Nigeria or some strange country I've never heard of, don't send me e-mails about your misfortunes. Although I'm delighted that you're willing to send me a share of your uncle's estate, or profit from a local leader who is unable to deposit a small fortune in his country, I won't make the time to fill out the paperwork involved in this suspicious transaction. Thanks, but no thanks.
* If you claim to be from E-Bay or PayPal, I won't respond with my personal financial information or my social security number. Too many people have too much personal information on me - and you're not one of them!
* I graduated college a hundred years ago. I'm not interested in any Internet courses or college degrees on animal husbandry. But if you are promoting a legitimate Internet class on becoming an overnight millionaire, I might change my mind. We will see.
* I may copy your Internet discount coupons if I've done business with you in the past. Remember, if I don't know you, I WILL delete.
Some things really turn me off:
* E-mails of several pages or 55 paragraphs are a waste of my time and yours. Try to keep your messages to one page and three or four paragraphs. There is a possibility I will speed-read your to-the-point e-mail.
* Leave your superlative statements out of my inbox! So many of your e-mails promote the best, the most popular and the most incredible products ever invented. I just can't decide to purchase during your limited 24-hour sale. Maybe in my next life, I will be more decisive. Just don't wait around.
So, Santa, my holiday, New Year and daily request is for help in getting my inbox to be half-empty rather than over-filled beyond belief. That would go a long way toward improving my well-being and mental health.
Unfortunately, I don't see that coming very soon.
Sharon Sultan Cutler is the expert for Baby Boomers at www.longisland.com and
Published on Dec 31, 1969