The best writing on the internet is not found on blogs or aggregators or even substack newsletters. Now as always, the best writing is found in spam emails.
Spam emails are both direct and deranged, aiming to convey a baked nugget of information wrapped in a raw lettuce leaf of nonsense. Sometimes the scumbled syntax comes by way of machine translation; sometimes it’s SEO-gaming keyword fricassee. The addressee’s names are patently fabricated, the salutations insincere, the pitches/threats/scams completely hollow. But I love them beyond reason, in all their horse-ebookishness and they way their contents fall across the grid of my interests in a perfect Poisson distribution. They are the root of internet data waste, the intersection of the dark machine world with the human world of bored office workers.
Today, for example, “Ben” dropped me a note to let me know about leather bags. He sums up his message in the subject line: “we have leather bag”.
That’s it. That’s the line. We have leather bag.
Damn, Ben. What kind of business model is this? I’m no CEO or economist, but I do know something about economies of scale. If you want to sustain your venture, you need to sell more than one of something. Think of all the inputs that went into your leather bag. Surely you want to make good on those costs by selling, say, several leather bags.
So I click, and oh how I have been fooled. Oh how I have underestimated Ben and his “vintage and stylish” leather bag.
They do indeed sell multiple leather bags, in a variety of colours. I can buy one bag for $89.99 or 100 bags for $82.99 each. In what currency, you ask? Ben lets me know the currency, broken out onto a separate line, typed out like so:
u s d
There’s something about the careful spacing and separation that punctuates the pitch, makes it almost hypnotic. Should I buy 100 bags in mocha brown? Can I buy 100 more? Where does it stop? When I’m buried beneath a mountain of fragrant cow hide? When can I be buried under bags, Ben?
There is also a stock photo of bull to guarantee the materials used. I’m sure the bull would not be pleased to know his image is being used to sell the flayed, cured and dyed skin of his herdmates.
“Delicate texture”? Check. “Soft shiny”? Oh check. “Fashion style?” Heck to the check, yes. Give me those bags, those soft containers, Ben. You have convinced, now and forevermore.