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Friday, September 25, 2009

Mail Call: Straitjackets and Toilet Paper

Posted By on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 2:22 PM

I have a weird relationship with the mail. Sometimes it sends me chocolate. Sometimes it sends me champagne. Sometimes it sends me sexy calendars. And sometimes it sends me nothing. And I cry and cry, and beat my fists on my cubicle desk and pull my hair, all to no avail. Well, the tides have turned and there is so much mail flooding into the Weekly that I could build a fort with all the books based on blogs; I could stock an armory with all the samples of crappy candy and sub-par soda pops. Here is some of the strangest schwag to float my way recently.

  • Reporter Ashley Harrell models the latest styles.

Oh, hello, weirdly shaped package. You are smushy, rotund. What is in you? Something strange I bet. Yes! It's a a foam heart. Wrapped up in cellophane and placed on a Styrofoam tray. It DARES the recipient to attend a theme park Halloween event. The total cost of this parody meat is billed as "priceless." If they mean the only cost to us was the valuable time it took to open it and wonder how many pieces of Styrofoam were simultaneously tossed into the trash in media joints all across California, they are right.

Oddly, the heart was not the wierdest thing to fall out of a bubble mailer and into my lap. That award would go to the straitjacket shipped to us by the company promoting the latest Batman video game. Yes, a straitjacket. The best part? It was shipped to our managing editor, Will Harper, and was neatly stenciled with "W HARPER" down the sleeve. I, of course, immediately popped the straitjacket in to his mailbox with a note attached that read "Obviously, you need this." Basically, this straitjacket-mailing company was banking on the fact that sassy editorial assistants everywhere would be unable to avoid making an obvious joke and that this is how their piece of advertising ephemera would find its way to editors' inboxes. This company is actually pretty smart.

  • Reporter Ashley Harrell models the latest styles.

click to enlarge quilted.jpg
And last but not least, it's that time of the year again. That time of year when companies turn part of their profit over to breast cancer campaigns and do so in a wash of hot pink and gooey publicity. The toilet paper company Quilted Northern sent us a bag of pink crap accompanied by a couple rolls of unwrapped toilet paper. Aside from all the uncomfortable associations that usually accompany toilet paper,  there's something not quite right about affixing the product with the image of a pink breast cancer ribbon and the slogan "soft & strong." You know, soft and strong like a woman. And also soft and strong like our toilet paper. Blech. Don't even get me started on the annoying, oppressively gendered (and stereotypically so) campaigns that corporations cook up for this cause.

Dear Mail,

I'm glad you're not ignoring me anymore. But could you send some booze?


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Andy Wright


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