The fax machine sits next to my desk all day and all night, whether I'm working or not. At least once a day, it spits out an unsolicited message, using my paper and my ink.
Usually it has a heading like "Investor Alert" or "Market News," as if someone somewhere believes that (a) I have money, and (2) I'm gullible enough to squander it on stocks recommended by the publisher of a newsletter who is paid in shares of those stocks to distribute that newsletter. In other words, they tell me to buy the stock, driving up the price so they can sell and make money.
It's all legitimate, because they tell you so in the fine print (which you may or may not be able to read, depending on the quality of the fax). They also tell you in the fine print that they aren't qualified stock advisers and that there's no reason for you to believe they know what they're talking about.
So naturally, I'm going to throw the money I don't have in whatever direction they suggest. Because I'm a complete idiot.
I know how to get off these mailing lists, because I've done it enough times. You call the number at the bottom of the page and key in your fax number, and just like that you've been removed from their list. And then the next day, you find yourself on another list with a different name and phone number, and you have to call again.
Or you can give up. I was just about to call yet another removal number today when I noticed that it wasn't a toll-free call. I checked in my phone book for the area code. Houston. They wanted me to call long distance to Houston, Texas, to get my name off their list, and I almost did it. I might have, too, if I hadn't been sure I'd get another fax tomorrow. Maybe I'd have to call the Cayman Islands to get off that list. Or Bogotá, or possibly Istanbul (not Constantinople).
I guess that means I'm resigned to wasting paper and ink from now on. They probably think they'll wear me down, and sooner or later I'll buy something on their recommendation and help make them rich. Let them dream on. When my ship comes in, I plan to spend the loot on something a little more solid. Like gourmet ice cream, or maybe a tractor. (Who says I don't have dreams of my own?)