I bought something from Staples.com about three years ago (I think it was a four pack of pens), which landed me on their email list. Four pens and I'm a sucker for life. I get a marketing email from Staples virtually every single day. And their marketing emails fascinate me, because they have THE spammiest subject lines of any major (or not even major) company.
Here's a screenshot of the Staples emails from the past two months:
COUPONS! DISCOUNTS! APPROVED! ATTENTION! Subject lines that spammy are like a time machine back to 2002 and the deluge of emails for non-prescription boner pills. I have a Pavolvian erection just looking at these.
And if you click into one and actually look at the coupons or discount, they're decidedly mediocre. Almost intentionally medicore. Like nine percent off on any purchase with a million exclusions for the things you'd want, or "buy 12 cans of air duster, get the 13th 50 percent off!"
I can't recall if I've ever tried to unsubscribe, but if I did, it definitely didn't take. I'm not accusing them of violating any spam laws -- again, I don't remember -- I'm just impressed their emails aren't automatically redirected to the spam folder. Everything about them screams, "Useless crappy marketing!" And across the population of Gmail users, enough people must've marked them for spam that they should fall into the blacklist zone.
Yet they aren't spam. Why aren't they spam? It must be a conspiracy.
Conspiracy theory #1: Staples stays on the FTC's good side by giving them office supplies. You know how those government fat cats love their kickbacks. Even if the kickbacks are manila envelopes and 1-user license copies of Microsoft Exchange 2008.
Conspiracy theory #2: Staples pays off Google by giving them office supplies. One way to stay on the email whitelist could be by plying the Google employees with Wite-Out. Wordplay. Conspiratorial wordplay.
Conspiracy theory #3: The "Easy" button sends a Bluetooth signal to your computer making sure Staples' emails aren't marked as spam. Think having one of the Staples "Easy" buttons on your desk is a kitschy office hijink? Those things might as well be pumping out chemtrails or melting steel beams.
Conspiracy theory #4: The NBA is helping them. So follow me here. The Los Angeles Lakers AND Clippers both play at the Staples Center. Why would Staples pay that much for the naming rights to an arena that never houses greater than 1.1 good teams simultaneously? To get in on the NBA's Illuminati-esque help. No one does conspiracy like the NBA. They fixed the draft lottery to send Patrick Ewing to the Knicks. They sent Michael Jordan to baseball for two years to cover up a gambling scandal. Why, just last week, they rigged the NBA Finals so the Cavs would win, because sports are always rigged to help out Cleveland teams. If they can pull off all that, why not toss their buddies at Staples a few suggestions at how to get away with spam?
Conspiracy theory #5: All of the computers they sell are preprogrammed to whitelist their emails. Staples isn't necessarily a go-to for computers, but I assume they sell a few ASUS and Compaq laptops here and there. Who knows what they're doing to those laptops before they reach the end consumer? I sure don't.
Conspiracy theory #6: Their emails are popular and people really like the coupons and discounts. Just kidding. No one likes anything.
I don't know about you guys but I'm leaning toward either 1, 4 or 5.
This story will be updated as more information comes in.
This post was originally published on Thursday, June 30, 2016 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Web & Tech.