First, let me assure you that Verity will not be sending unmentionables to its members. We pride ourselves on innovative promotions and giveaways, but we do have some sense of decorum.

As a marketing professional, I am skeptical of “free” offers. I always read the fine print because, as a part of our job, we have fine print in the communications we create everyday. Nothing causes Marketing folk’s eyes to roll back up into their heads more than the disclosure and logos we have to add to our pretty brochures and ads due to Federal rules and regulations.

But that is another blog posting for another day. Back to my story.

So, my husband and I moved into our new house a year ago and we still get the occasional “Welcome to the Neighborhood here’s a free offer/service” junk mail. Most of it goes into the shredder. One day, I received an ‘intriguing’ offer for a free pair of pantyhose. This company offers the convenience of delivering pantyhose and a host of other female unmentionables to your doorstep. Don’t get me wrong—mail order and home delivery is a good thing, but I prefer to purchase such items in person at the local Target. I can’t imagine spending more than $5 on one pair of hose. It’s just going to snag on your file cabinet anyway.

The mailer I received offered a free pair of pantyhose— just choose your size, color, control-top, you name it. No obligation to buy. Just pick what you want and mail the postage-paid postcard and your free pair of pantyhose will arrive in 4-6 weeks. I scoured the mailer for any attached strings. I didn’t see any, so I went ahead and mailed it in because, after all, how could I deny myself a pair of free pantyhose?

Lo and behold, I received my pair of black pantyhose in the mail about five weeks later with a “thanks for trying us out hope you order from us in the future” note. I put the pantyhose away in my dresser drawer for future dress up opportunities.

Fast forward three and a half weeks later. I check the mail and there is a plastic bag/package from the pantyhose people. Could it be that they are sending me more free stuff?

Heck no—enclosed I find a variety of black, suntan, control top and sheer pantyhose along with this month’s invoice of $13 and change. I am cheerfully told that I can return whatever I don’t want, otherwise, please send your payment.

Color me confused. I didn’t order this stuff did I? No, all I did was check the size and color I wanted for their free offer. I know I looked for the “strings attached,” and found nothing. What the heck?

I visited their website to get their contact info and called their #800 ready to give them you-know-what. Surprisingly, my anger was diffused by their soothing, automated voice and a very short on-hold wait time. The woman on the line was very pleasant and helpful. All I told her was that I received an order I didn’t place and before I got to the part about the free offer, she cancelled my account (when did I open an account?) and gave me the address to which I should send back what I had received. As I hung up, I got the distinct feeling that I was one of many unknowingly opened accounts that were cancelled that day. The process was way too smooth.

I ended up having to pay for the postage to ship the pantyhose back. Granted, the company (which will remain nameless, but you probably know who they are) does offer to refund your postage costs, but that requires a copy of a receipt, a form and yet more postage. All that work wasn’t worth $2.35.

I still haven’t worn the free pantyhose.

Laurel McJannet

No biography available for this author.

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