Transatlantic spam

So, I’m used to getting spam emails, trying to sell me viagra, or do some protein sequencing for me. Recently though, I’ve received some old fashioned spam, sent in the post from America. The culprits are Thomson Reuters, the company behind the Web of Science/Knowledge website, journal impact factors and so on.

I’ve had two packages now, each sent from Philadelphia, USA to Birmingham, UK, at a cost of around $5 each in postage. Now, you’d think that if you’re sending something such a long way, and paying a fair bit to do so, that it should be something good.

Not so:

Here is spam item 1 – a jigsaw.  The package contained only a short leaflet and a nine-piece jigsaw. Would you pay $5 to send this across the Atlantic ocean?

Today it got even worse:

This cardboard box contained another leaflet, two large bits of cardboard, and a very small USB stick. The USB stick was embedded in a big bit of rubber, shaped like a jigsaw. I had to remove the rubber with scissors to plug it into my computer. It is a 1GB memory stick, with around 40MB of promotional files for Thomson Reuters – mostly pdfs of posters which I don’t care about. They could have sent me an email with links to download these files, but instead paid $5 to send it to me all the way from America.

I don’t understand why I’m being sent this stuff, or who would ever want to be sent things like this.

I don’t understand why any company has a marketing budget that allows them to do this, or how they can be so gratuitously wasteful.

If you ever wondered why subscriptions to Thomson Reuters ‘products’ cost as much as they do, now you know.

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