Native Writes: One has to marvel at modern marketing ingenuity

Six months ago, I canceled my subscription to a publication I no longer needed.

Two weeks after I returned the latest copy with a terse note saying I would not pay, I received a letter warning me that the service was about to be canceled and it would take rapid action, an my most recent bank statement and a filled-out form requiring personal information to keep it going.

What part of “no” didn’t they understand?

I have since been warned that this is a tactic used to scam people into providing personal information and senior citizens are especially gullible.

Whoever does this figures, I think, that older people will forget that they don’t have the service and pay up.

Another email advises me that, no kidding, I am the 100,000th visitor to a dating site for old folks.

Um... You sent me the message. I haven’t visited you.

Opening the message anyway, I was told I could win a $1,000 gift card; all I had to do was accept several of a long list of offers and refer 16 friends to the service.

I am now on the mailing list for at least three senior singles clubs. “Find out who has been looking for you.” I refuse to open the messages.

My crime? Checking a box devoted to marital status. Widowed does not mean “looking.”

If I were, it wouldn’t be on line.

The message that someone is looking for me was followed by a spiel about another personals service, sure to work.

My granddad used to bait his hook with a writhing worm and declare that the worm would catch a fish or die trying.

A site dedicated to alumni of my high school tells me 300 people have been looking for me.

One site forwarded a message: “Women get it for free.”

I got a sample of Tide out of that one — and about 25 “chances” to get more freebies

Somewhere in the depths of merchandising land sit hundreds of minions whose sole job is to put people on lists based on age, marital status and hobbies.

One thing for sure, I am not taking that senior singles cruise to Bermuda that I won in a lottery I didn’t enter.

Even the dead buy things.

Someone who could barely speak English called just before I left on a trip earlier this month to tell me I still owed a sitting fee for a senior citizen’s cruise my long-deceased husband had won. He never entered sweepstakes and gambled only when his hand was on a one-armed bandit.

“We will be suing him into court,” she warned. “Give me your address so he can be serviced.”

I told her he was deceased and had been for almost six years.

“Will he be back before Thursday?”

I don’t think she understood the word, deceased.

“Well, you take cruise, then. You pay sitting fee now so we don’t sue you into court.”

I told her I thought the cruise was all-expenses paid – free.

“It is. You need credit card for guarantee of seat. It a place to sleep. You pay extra for bed.”

I propose that someone, somewhere, pull the plug on all the free, no application needed, prizes for seniors.

We simply can’t afford all this free stuff.