Saturday, January 31, 2009

People Don't Give Out Free Stuff

Not without wanting something back, anyway.

I just received this letter from "Sansford & Jordan".

I am pleased to inform you that you have been chosen to receive (2) Roundtrip Airfare.

That's amazing, considering I'm not entered in any contests. First mark against them - no return address on the envelope. Legitimate companies tend to make stuff like that apparent, or at least use an envelope with the company name on it.

We have attempted to contact you several times without success. This is our last attempt.

I can only hope. Second mark against them, the letter is signed by a "Claire Mason" from the "Travel Awards Division". There's a division of this company solely dedicated to giving out travel related awards. She's not qualified to give out cash rewards, just travel. If you want to buy someone a vacation, call Claire Mason. She's all over it.

If you choose to decline your Roundtrip Airfare for (2), please contact us as soon as possible so we may issue your Roundtrip Airfare Voucher's to an alternate recipient.

Marks three, four and five. You don't just write (2) in parenthesis for no reason. You put that there after you write out the word "two". Example:
If I received two (2) letters from this company, I will firebomb their office.

That's why it's in parenthesis - because it's confirming with a numerical symbol the spelled number that came before it, and it's not really part of that clause of the sentence.

The fourth mark is the green grocer's apostrophe in "Roundtrip Airfare Voucher's". Watch out, here comes an S! That's not what an apostrophe is for. When you're making a word plural, as in saying that there's more than one of something, you don't use an apostrophe. Example: bananas.

The fifth mark is the fact that they expect me to call whether or not I'm interested in getting the trip. Real companies don't rely on customers to inform them of their lack of interest. They set deadlines and move on. This is clearly a trap to get me to call their number.

That number, by the way, is 1-877-878-3956. If you Google the company name, you'll find a number of other people reporting this scam. Some called the number out of curiosity and reported that a live person answers. That might be good for a laugh if anyone out there is feeling bored.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Defund The NCCAM

The NCCAM, or National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, has been open for over 15 years in a couple different incarnations. This is a government funded institution researching such things as qi, homeopathy, acupuncture, etc, etc, etc. It attempts to demonstrate the validity of alternative medicine techniques through the scientific process.

Unfortunately, they aren't doing very well. After hundreds of millions of dollars, they have yet to demonstrate the legitimacy or reliability of a single "alternative or complimentary" method.

Enter: Obama

You may know that Barack Obama's website allows users to sign up, write a brief message about an issue they feel is important, and other users can sign off on that issue showing their support. It's very much a voting system. Over here you can see that some intrepid soul has suggested saving the government a decent chunk of change by defunding the NCCAM. This should save a minimum of $225 million. I suggest you follow the link, register, and vote that issue up.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009