"Reward Enclosed," read the envelope, and, of course, I opened it. It had been a really long time since I'd gotten a noteworthy direct mail solicitation; maybe this was it.
The letter was from BusinessWeek. It explained to me that I had been "selected to participate in [their] business and economic survey." This, I thought, was a winningly insincere way to tell me they'd purchased my name from a mailing list - any magazine willing to lie so lamely to obtain readers would obviously be entertaining enough to justify whatever subscription fee they were charging.
So I read further; here was the deal: if I took a "short moment" (as opposed to a long moment) to answer four questions, they'd give me four free issues, plus a special price on an extended subscription. In addition, the letter stated the following:
"Your answers will help us continue to do what we do best: give you the edge in today's competitve business environment. Targeting trends. Unlocking strategies. Dispensing intelligence on what matters most - your business, your career, your investments."
It was this paragraph that turned me from a likely customer into a disgruntled naysayer. I mean, really, if it was my answers on corporate welfare, flat tax, NAFTA, and trade with China that they were going to use to target trends and unlock strategies, which they would then go on to sell to the hundreds of thousands of subscribers who hadn't been selected to participate in this survey, shouldn't they be giving me a lot more compensation than four free issues?
In addition, there was the fact that this survey was presented in a simple yes/no checkbox format. Sorry, but if you want my opinions on serious economic and politic issues I know nothing about, you have to let me elaborate.
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