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The Southern Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Rus­sell Wanger­sky

When I was in my teens, we had a fam­ily dog that looked like a minia­ture Dober­man pin­scher and hated both the post­man and the mail he de­liv­ered. (I think my mother got it be­cause she lost a bet.)

The mail would come through the slot in the front door, and the an­gry lit­tle beast would light into it, of­ten tear­ing im­por­tant cor­re­spon­dence (this was when cheques used to come in the mail, in­stead of by e-trans­fer) to bits.

The post­man prob­a­bly didn’t ever see the tiny, en­raged and shiv­er­ing- with- anger beast, but the speed at which the mail shot through the door made us think the post­man had a healthy fear of the hound.

Some­times, I miss that dog. Well, no - I just wish I had a pet will­ing to an­grily rip into an en­ve­lope or two for me.

Like the en­ve­lope from Bell that seems to come al­most weekly, ex­hort­ing Oc­cu­pant me to switch all of my com­mu­ni­ca­tions ser­vices to them - and the sec­ond en­ve­lope that comes at ex­actly the same time for Oc­cu­pant nonex­is­tent in the- apart­ment- we- don’t- have at our ad­dress and every other ad­dress on our street as well.

Some­where, there’s a com­mis­sioned sales­per­son who got a bonus for con­vinc­ing Bell to dou­ble the vol­ume of their ad mail - “Why, there must be hun­dreds of apart­ments you’re miss­ing with just one piece of ad­dressed ad mail - send two to every house, just in case.”

I mean, it wasn’t enough they come vir­tu­ally weekly - and that Rogers, un­will­ing to cede any cus­tomer they might al­ready have, dive-bombs my mail­box, too, with offers that are of­ten bet­ter than what they are charg­ing me, al­ready a cus­tomer. (It’s like the lost lamb - Rogers ap­par­ently likes to wan­der the hills look­ing for po­ten­tially lost sheep, while the herd is ex­pected to just stand there, munch­ing grass and con­tent­edly send­ing the monthly tithe.)

Then, there’s the email del­uge, spell­ing out some ben­e­fit or other that I’m miss­ing, some way to bet­ter en­joy what­ever it is I en­joy al­ready.

One thing seems per­fectly clear: both my fam­ily and the mys­te­ri­ous fam­ily also at my ad­dress must be a se­ri­ous com­mod­ity.

To put it bluntly, we must be worth big coin for all of the In­ter­net, ca­ble and satel­lite com­pa­nies to spend so much on ad­ver­tis­ing and spe­cial pack­ages to try and catch our busi­ness.

I guess what angers me most is that all that coin is be­ing spent not on the in­for­ma­tion we use in the run of a day - it’s just go­ing to the com­pany that de­liv­ers it.

Think of it this way: you need wa­ter for drink­ing and show­ers and to make the bath­room work. Imag­ine if, when you bought that wa­ter, all you were re­ally pay­ing for was the pipe, while the peo­ple who pu­ri­fied, fil­tered and sup­plied the wa­ter got zilch.

Or that, when you bought your gro­ceries, the biggest single ben­e­fi­ciary of your pur­chase wasn’t the guy who grew the av­o­ca­dos or the woman who caught the fish, but was in­stead the bag-maker who made some­thing to let you carry the gro­ceries home.

I’m in a busi­ness where com­menters com­plain, even when they read things for free, that they haven’t got­ten their money’s worth - mean­while, the pipe that brought my free work to those hos­tile cus­tomers al­ways gets its hun­dred or more bucks a month. Heck, those same pipe- own­ers glee­fully take tele­vi­sion sig­nals from other places and paste in their ad­ver­tis­ing into other peo­ple’s work, ads once again ex­hort­ing the ben­e­fits of their par­tic­u­lar pipe.

And then they use the money to dive-bomb me with ads - and my in­vis­i­ble apart­ment-dwellers, too. “Get the bun­dle!” Ha. I’d like to give you the bun­dle.

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