In-box follies: the day's office mail

Amalgamated Conglomerate Corp. 1200 Champs 'Elys'ees Drive Condo Gorge, AR 000022 DEAR MR. CORP: You may have thought this was your paycheck, MR. CORP. Well, truthfully, I have to level with you in all candor and honesty. Our staff of highly skilled artists designed the envelope you have just opened to match your payroll department's envelopes. Why, you may ask, MR. CORP, did we do this?

Well, candidly, if any other marketing department had used such a device, we would have thought they were straying from the high ethical standards of our industry. We did it, in all honesty, because we are convinced we can offer you one of the greatest products, MR. CORP, to ever come your way. We are so convinced you and MRS. CORP and all the LITTLE CORPS will think so too that we knew you wouldn't mind not finding your weekly paycheck inside.

We are so convinced, in short, that you will agree you have never seen anything like the ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME HOME VCR REPAIR COURSE that can be yours for practically nothing -- that we are offering you a can't lose proposition -- if you act fast.

``What,'' MRS. CORP may be asking right now as she looks over your shoulder, ``what do we have to do, AMALG HONEY, in order to start our lifetime course? How can you, dear, and our wonderful LITTLE CORPS be the first in our neighborhood to know how to repair our VCR?''

Your wife is perceptive. She gets right to the important question.

Well, let me answer frankly and honestly. What you have to do is so very very simple. Just remove the sticker at the top of the page that says I ACCEPT YOUR ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME OFFER and apply it to the blank square next to your signature and charge card number at the bottom of the page. Then pop it in the enclosed envelope and drop it in the nearest mail slot. That's all you have to do.

Then sit back and wait. Within 30 days you will see an envelope that looks like your paycheck, which contains the first volume of your lifetime course and a bill for just $49.98 for your first installment. Then, as you and MRS. CORP and the LITTLE CORPS learn to dismantle your VCR and begin to earn big money taking apart your neighbors' VCRs, you will receive new volumes each month for the next 84 months. Just continue to pay the low monthly payment of $39.98 and you will see a whole new world of electronics, computeronics, cybernetics, robotics, tapetics, movietics, cinematics, filmology, 64K chips, chocolate chips, programmabletics, remote control disassembly, fastforwardonics, and oh so many other hi-tech subjects unveiled before your very eyes.

Your kids will cease to be lethargic and surly. They will soon begin to study videonics all through the night, improve their class standing, score higher on SATs, outhit the neighbors' kids in Little League, wait eagerly for next month's volume, eat all their Brussels sprouts, receive full scholarships to leading law schools on both coasts. And, most important, the LITTLE CORPS will learn a skill that will always be in demand, a skill with which they can earn big money to send you checks when you have retired.

Just think! When you affix the sticker right now, you can sit back and say to yourself ``AMALG CORP, for once in your life you made a really smart move.'' You can bask in the admiration MRS. CORP and each JUNIOR CORP will start giving you the minute they open the first volume.

And you have nothing to lose. If at any time you are less than fully satisfied with this ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME OFFER, just put the latest volume back in its paycheck envelope, pop some postage on the outside, and mail it back to me. I will cheerfully refund your last payment and stop the course. No questions asked. You're the boss. Then you and MRS. CORP can start picking up the 64K RAM chips and automatic drive gears scattered around the living room. MRS. CORP can ring the neighbors and tell them to come pick up whatever parts of their VCRs can be found under the cushions in the family room sofa. You can write notes to teachers telling them why the LITTLE CORPS are no longer doing their homework. You can feel happy for some other surprised parents who will be getting a letter about the law school scholarship that has just become available to them.

And of course you, MR. CORP, can start learning to live with the silent reproach and sullen stares that your wife and the kids direct at you during the course of the next 40 years.

But let's not waste time on this unlikely picture. In all honesty, MR. CORP, I feel that you and your little family are uniquely qualified to make use of this fine course. It's the same one that many TV sitcom stars and game show hosts studied to repair their own VCRs. And it's yours, candidly, right now if you will just lift that little sticker.

Yours frankly,

Bo McCandor

Director of Marketing

The Mail Salvage Corp. Amalgamated Conglomerate Corp. 1200 Champs 'Elys'ees Drive Condo Gorge, AR 000022 ATTENTION: Director of Purchasing DEAR MR. PURCH:

I can tell from your ZIP code, MR. PURCH, that you are a well-educated, financially successful executive with at least 2.3 children and a pedigreed Lhasa Apso.

You are one of a select group of Americans and residents of Western Tokyo, Singapore, and Abu Dhabi who have been chosen to help us design a new magazine for affluent citizens of the world who collect antiques, own suites at superdome stadiums, have swimming pools containing more than 18,000 cubic feet of water, own TV screens in excess of 72 square feet, and stock their kitchens with more than one cord of mesquite wood, at least a pound of star anise, a pasta machine developing more than 2.7 peak horsepower, and a Cajun fishnet table cloth.

Why, you may ask, should a DIRECTOR OF PURCH be asked to help design a new magazine?

That is just the kind of perceptive question we knew we could count on when we sat down to start ANTIQUES & ASTROTURF, The Magazine for Connoisseurs, Fans, Gourmets and Neo-Aristocrats. The answer is that we want YOUR NEW MAGAZINE to be everything you ever dreamed of.

We want it to contain short pithy tips on things you need to know fast in your busy days and whirling nights. Brief items. Quick hints. Terse tips. Blunt. Bold. Slashing. Useful. Down-to-earth. Sky's the limit. Ideas. Concepts. Strategies. Tomorrow's trends. Next century's antiques. The future seen through time-honored lenses.

We also want it to contain in-depth, comprehensive, exhaustively-researched feature-length articles on your favorite topics. You tell us what they are. We respond.

Listen to just a few examples garnered from people with ZIP codes like yours: The History of Spanish Moss. Zoysia Grass in the Kitchen. The Complete Guide to Country Club Monograms. 16 New Salads Using Astroturf. Spotting Those Antique Finds at Montgomery Ward. How Polo Groundskeep-ers at 5 Clubs Use Cuisinarts to Mow a Velvet Surface. 16 Ways to Refinish a Biedermeier Breakfront with Urethane. Training Your Briard to Fetch Guests' Coats and Handbags, How to Raise Mesquite in Your Greenhouse. 16 New Evening Dresses to Wear to the Super-bowl. 16 Great Off-Path Resorts in the Kerguelen Islands. What's In, What's Out in Andorran Knit Vests. 16 New Monogram Fonts for your BMW. Power-Dressing Revisited: 16 New Necktie Patterns No One in Your Office Has Seen. How to Install a Sorbet-Maker in Your Jaguar. 16 New Face Creams Extracted from Mauve Peppercorns. How to Throw a Memorable Dinner Party with HulkMania Wrestlers. 16 Great Andy Warhol Antiques. How to Tell Important Paintings from Unimportant Ones.

I'm sure you'll want to add many more of your very own favorites.

But after you've made your suggestions on the enclosed questionnaire, what else do you have to do? Absolutely nothing. This offer is absolutely free of strings. There are no catches, MR. PURCH. We just want your dynamite ideas to help launch ANTIQUES & ASTROTURF.

If you should, however, want to read the thought-provoking, money-saving, prestige-building articles written to your specification, we offer you a chance to subscribe now. If you really aspire to that CEO job you've always dreamed of, if you covet an invitation to join the hunt club, if you want superbowl quarterbacks clamoring to come to your parties, if you want help picking out a highboy actually crafted by King George the Third, you'll want to fill in the coupon below. It allows you to become a charter subscriber to ANTIQUES & ASTROTURF. And it reserves your chance to be a lifetime subscriber if you so decide upon receiving the first issue.

No need to mail money if you have a gold card. Or you can elect to be billed later for the incredibly assured price of just $498.00 per year, $5,000 lifetime. If you prefer to pay in bundled $20 bills for reasons of your own, you can count on our discretion, MR. PURCH. And if you have friends you think could climb higher by sampling ANTIQUES & ASTROTURF -- friends in your own ZIP code area, of course -- please pass this invitation on to them.


Anthony A. Anthony

Editor & Publisher-to-Be Antiques & Astroturf

INTEROFFICE MAIL To: William Jones, Purchasing Department From: Amalgamated Consol. Main Office Dear Bill --

It has come to my attention here in Payroll that several of your department's employees have torn up their paycheck envelopes without opening them. What gives? Don't your guys like to get paid anymore?

I enclose replacement checks. Let's see this doesn't happen again, huh.

Jerry Vance

Chief, Payroll Services

Earl W. Foell

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