Moving to Freedom, .Org(on)

No, Not That Kind of Walking Stick

Dear Internet:

fox with walking stick

I’m writing to you about a recent business opportunity you sent my way. I have to confess that I’m sometimes amused by your “business opportunities.” Your contacts often have trouble with subtleties of language which makes me smile rather than lose even more faith in humanity. Still, despite my amusement, this letter is intended as a bit of a rebuke.

I recently shared a photo of a walking stick. Not a stick to aid in walking, but the insect kind of stick. Phasmatodea. I thought it was clearly about the bug, yet I’ve received an email from one of your friends that suggests otherwise.

Although I’d like to see more comments on the site where everyone can share in the discussion, email is also good. It’s special: Someone cared enough to carefully compose a personal message, and I do appreciate it.

In this case, the message was uncharitably identified as spam by my filter, but the subject of “walking stick” made it stand out when I reviewed the spam folder:

business opportunity email re: walking sticks

Such specialization! I imagine they really deliver value by maintaining this sharp focus. Any old company can sell walking sticks, food containers, storage containers, plastic chairs, and water bottles, but then they’ll likely overextend themselves and try to offer things like carabiners and indoor composters as well, and now they’ve completely muddied their product strategy.

I also like how they’ve personalized you, addressing you by name, Internet, and dropping the needlessly objectifying “the.” It’s as if they’re saying, “Our common friend Internet gave us your number and said, ‘You should totally have business relations with this Sir or Madam.’”

I was puzzled at first how a company with such focus and attention to detail might misinterpret the intent of my post about buggy walking sticks as a desire for “sticky” walking sticks, but then I saw where I had mislead them. I titled the post “Where’s Walking Stick?”, and they simply answered, “Right here, on our site, along with food and storage containers, plastic chairs, and water bottles.”

I visited the web site, and sure enough, the items listed in the email seem to be their front page, flagship products:

product list

Here are some featured products:

featured products

My favorite is: “cheap black folding chair.”

But a whole category is conspicuously missing in the photos. What I really want to know is, “Where’s walking stick?” I clicked on the sidebar link to find a page saying, “No data.” Frustrating!

Disappointment with my would-be business associates has led me to write you this letter, Internet. Please be careful when handing out my contact information. Don’t automatically assume I want non-bug walking sticks and food containers as much as I want Viagra and foreign money laundering opportunities.

But hold on a second…

These guys are having a problem with their web page. “No data.” It happens. My site goes down more often than I’d like, and I don’t want to be judged too harshly for that, either. I didn’t see what they’re actually selling under the heading of “walking stick.” Maybe it is Phasmatodea. They could put the bugs in one of their storage containers for shipping. Maybe they — and you — were right on the money with this one.

I’m sorry, Internet. Please disregard this letter until further notice.

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