Previous “In My Inbox” posts

Demonstrably False

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

Earlier this year, I saw something referring to Memorial Day weekend as “the unofficial start of summer in America”. I was amused by this, because of course there is an official start to summer. In 2019, summer starts in the Northern Hemisphere on Friday, June 21st. Three weeks before that is of course late spring, but perhaps this can slide thanks to the word “unofficial”.

However, this is some real nonsense:

No it’s not! Your email is three weeks early! Why lie about it?

Update (June 11th, 2019): Today, thanks to a random bar trivia question, I learned about meteorological seasons. If this was taught in school, I have no memory of it, and it’s certainly not what society tends to talk about as “the first day of summer”. Nevertheless, June 1st is the first day of the meteorological summer. As such, I need to at least give byChloe a pass on this one.

Update (June 24th, 2019): After sending a second marketing email in which they used the more traditional definition of summer, byChloe once again gets a wag of the finger.

This Is Not Helpful, Amazon

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Last week, I received the following email in my inbox:

An email from Amazon reading (in part): Hello, Were contacting you to let you know that our website inadvertently disclosed your email address due to a technical error.

The generic nature of this message struck me as bizarre, as did the supposed issue. My email address, and only my email address, was “inadvertently disclosed”, and this is “important information”? My initial thought was that it was a scam of some sort, though I couldn’t figure out what.

Despite the assurances that I did not need to change my password, I thought that perhaps the Amazon link lead to a bogus website. Nope! Apparently, Amazon really was alerting folks to the fact that their account email addresses may have been exposed, to someone, somewhere. This isn’t actionable information in any way. This wasn’t the world’s worst scam, it was the world’s least helpful security alert.

What Do You Want, a Medal or a Cookie?

Monday, November 12th, 2018

I’ve ripped on Potbelly’s before, but I still enjoy both good sandwiches and a good deal. As such, I remain on their mailing list, and so it was that I received this absurd mailing yesterday:

A free cookie for military veterans seems like an alright promotion, and that’s a nice big cookie too. But they really spoiled the whole thing with that subject line:

  • Vets, we can’t repay you, but how about a free cookie?

“We know you sacrificed years of your life for the good of the country, and that you may be suffering from wounds both visible and invisible. Hey, have a cookie, on us!”

It’s as if they realized they needed to acknowledge how utterly insufficient this gesture is, but only wound up making the whole thing worse. Maybe next time, just skip it entirely.

Wine Personalized to My Tastes Is Actually Just Called “Beer”

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

Last week, I received a spammy come-on to purchase some wine via the internet. The ad had more than a few issues.

An add that says 'Wine personalized to your tastes', with a swimsuit-clad woman lounging on a pool float holding a glass of wine she can't even drink.


  • Is that woman lying down on balloons? Ah, no, I see. That’s actually a rather cool-looking pool float.

  • Do you folks sell pool floats? I’d buy that pool float.

  • Did they change the calendar recently? This email arrived on Friday, August 3rd, which was not part of any three day weekend to my knowledge. While I too enjoy three day weekends, a month ahead of time seems a bit premature to celebrate Labor Day.

  • Oh jeez, is that a cactus behind the pool float? Don’t put an inflatable pool float near cacti!

  • Say, you mention wine, but I don’t see any. Am I missing it? I see ass. Legs and ass. Definitely no face though, and also, no wine.

  • Oh, there the wine is, all the way on the left. Did anyone on the marketing team notice that there’s literally no way this ridiculously-posed woman can drink wine in that position?1

  • In closing, I’d like to know where I can buy that pool float.


    1. Perhaps she could use some sort of straw, but only if she’s some kind of anti-environmental monster. ↩︎

I’m Not Even Sure How Many That Is, but I Know It’s Not One

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

Whenever national politics in America hit a new low, my inbox gets extra depressing. This one really got me though:

An email with text reading t helps to remember this one simple sentence: “Don’t despair. Mobilize.”

Great. Now I’m despondent about both the state of affairs in America, and our inability to properly count sentences.

1 Out Of 5 Dentists Recommend

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

I didn’t go to dental school, but I’m pretty sure drinking soda is not a recommended method of whitening your teeth.

An email with the subject line 'Brighten your smile with a $1 Coke'.

Still, if it can get rust off metal, maybe Coke really can brighten your smile as well.

Come On, Spammers

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

Yesterday, I received this email:

For my foreign readers, America marked Memorial Day on Monday, just a day before this spam was sent. It is now just about the longest possible time until Memorial Day! Does this snake oil take an entire year to work? Or will it work in mere days, to satisfy the promise of “By June”?

This is just shoddy. Have some pride in your work, spammers.

X IS the Roman Numeral for 10

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Recently, I received a message from Credit Karma. Credit Karma is a useful service for watching over your credit and finances, but this email was really something.

  • Hey Paul,

    Guess what!

Oh boy, Credit Karma! What?!

  • We’ve expanded coverage for our free identity monitoring service.

Oh. I see.

  • Not only can we spot your info in another company’s public data breach, but we can also pinpoint specific passwords that were compromised.

I fear I know where you’re going with this.

  • Based on findings that go back as far as 2007, we’ve found your info in an additional 3 breaches and identified 1 password that should be changed.

This is decidedly less fun than your opening indicated.

  • Sign in to review your report!

Well, I was annoyed to learn about these latest data breaches, but that final exclamation point has really lightened the mood. Let’s do this!

Logging in…

Hey, look at that, everyone! I just earned my 10 Breach badge. Gosh, this is exciting. It’s really a lot of fun how they’ve gamified my possible identity theft.

But please, please; don’t be jealous. Given the seriousness with which most sites treat the security of our data, I’m sure you’ll be a part of double-digit breaches soon enough.

AAnd You Can Keep Waiting

Monday, August 7th, 2017

Requests for me to spend my time filling out surveys, leaving reviews, and giving feedback come more and more frequently of late. This, however, is a new low. It wasn’t even the first nudge I’d received to leave a review for some damned gelato I bought in New York City, but the subject was certainly the most presumptuous.

Presumptious email with subject 'Paul, we're waiting'

I don’t know why the American Airlines AAdvantage Dining Program only allows reviews within 30 days, but at least it means they’ll stop bugging me now.

The Quality of Their Work Is Matched Only by the Quality of Their Slogan

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

My company re-did our brand identity recently. But if any of you are looking for a new logo, I’ll be happy to forward this spam on.

A terribly designed design pitch