Straight to the Spam Folder: Astonishing E-Mail Messages You'll Never Open

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Spamming is an underappreciated art form. In fact, "hated" may be a more accurate adjective. Like mimes in a public square, spammers seek to capture the attention of people who actively try to avoid them. Thus they must strike fast and hard, bewildering their prey with astonishing bombast, no-holds-barred familiarity, and too-good-to-be-true promises. Much depends on the effectiveness of their initial pitch--the e-mail header--and in exploiting that space, they put practitioners of haiku to shame, delivering their come-on to the rubes (that is, us) in a single line and usually in far fewer than 17 syllables.

And yet if you equip your e-mail program with a good spam filter (we at PC World use the Postini service), you're unlikely to see the fruits of the spammer's labor unless you enter the world of the Quarantine Summary, where "potential junk or virus-infected messages" go to die. If you think of your daily trip to the quarantine zone as a usually fruitless scan for wrongly incarcerated messages, it can't help but seem a nuisance. But if you go there looking for poetry, Delphic mystery, and fortune-cookie philosophy, you can discover gems of unrecognized genius.

So let's take a spin through the quarantined messages of PC World's editorial staff and see what wisdom our spammers wish to impart to a cynical, uncaring world. Our guarantee: All of the e-mail headers listed here are certified as-is, found-in-the-filter, pure organic spam, without any artificial editorial enhancements. (However, since spammers have the naughty habit of commandeering innocent people's e-mail addresses in order to gain a patina of legitimacy--and since innocent people are not above filing nasty lawsuits--I have altered the e-mail addresses included here.)


I don't know you


I'm glad we cleared that up right away. (Incidentally, FHM magazine recently named this one of the ten best pickup lines ever.)

Happy New Now!


Too late: It's already old.

Hi it's Monica


Okay, let's give it a try: "Hi, Monica. I don't know you."


Help Your Customer Live the Fantasy


This opportunity may be a bit more hands-on than I'd like.

Leadership on purpose


But isn't that cheating?

Create a Customer Walk-a-Thon


No, no! Into the store, into the store!

Are you participating in the Recession?


You's voluntary?


Hi Linda, try yourself as a Personal Assistant


If it doesn't work out, you can always lay yourself off.

Need Promotion


To senior watchdog?

Better Job


Wait a minute--why am I offering myself a better job?


With our watches boring time will go faster.


The focus here is either on disturbing the space/time continuum or on appealing specifically to miners.

With a cool watch you can beat everybody.


Sounds like an extremely sturdy (and dangerous) watch.

Designer watches at very democratic prices.


This one looks promising. I know I can't afford very republican prices.

An elegant watch will give you the wings.


Is that anything like the vapors?

We offer the best alarm-clocks for your little buddy down there.




Laugh 'Til You Cry


I hope that isn't a threat. "Laugh, Clown, Laugh!"

Agree to be sick! Noway!


If that's a typo for "Norway," I know a country that needs a new PR campaign.

Hello. Heather here


Scotland's board of tourism could do with a new slogan, too.


Bell the cat, or rather, get


"Bell the get"?

Buy Soft For The Prices You Will Enjoy.


Finally, an investment strategy that makes sense--unless your heart is set on buying firm.

If for you bad mood to call to me!


Borat is moonlighting again. But is this if already for me bad mood, or if in order for me bad mood?

Stop Sweating and Start Cheating at Gardening Today


Many who are new to the world of high-stakes gardening succumb to this temptation.

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