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How To Soil Yourself: American Travel Check Voucher

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Budgeting for the Aggressively-Uninformed-and-Desperate Niche

07122013-VoucherI’ve had this direct-mail sitting on my desk for a number of days. It is so brazenly bad I cannot bring myself to throw it away. It looks like a check. It is not a check: it’s an invitation to (probably) a 90 minute high-pressure sales meeting followed by (likely) more invitations to waste hundreds if not thousands of dollars in fees for the free tickets—at least according to Erica Duecy and Rachel Klein at Fodors.com. American Airlines and the Better Business Bureau have disowned and warned against the scam. Various news teams and scores of writers have been noting this bit of ugliness out of Scottsdale, Arizona for years.

To me this represents the worst of all possible communication events. It plays on one’s innate thrill of getting something for nothing, takes unfair advantage of anyone in desperate financial straits and provides an open door into a cesspool of bad money decisions. It’s probably not illegal, just really, really stupid.

And not just stupid for anyone who tries to cash it.

Stupid for the company paying for the promotion: by this point most of us are trained to Google anything that looks too good to be true. When you Google it, “scam” pops up right away and appears in nearly every entry. One would need to actively disregard obvious warning signs to take advantage of this. And yet, there must be enough aggressively uninformed people who are just desperate enough to fall into the deception. In other words, the few desperate people buying-in keep the swindle going. So—smart for the company to prey on desperate people—and entirely void of care for humans.

The sadness in this direct-mail is how it poisons the water for honest communication. It’s just another example of hucksterism showing up in my mailbox.

Ugly. I’d hate to have this in my portfolio.

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Image credit: News 8

Written by kirkistan

July 12, 2013 at 9:28 am

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