Friday, August 05, 2005

Free Cars in Hell

I was reviewing for deletion or archival perhaps 50 VoIP voicemails today on my main computer (conveniently forwarded to me by Lingo as wav files attached to e-mails). Basically, trying to dig up a little extra disk space on the olde harde drive. (As you are well aware, 120 gigabytes fill up way too fast . . . . Remember when a 1.2 meg 5.25 inch floppy disk was a miracle? When a floppy actually could FLOP? We inhabit an era of orders-of-magnitude future shock. Plus the spare new 300-gig drive I just installed wants a BIOS upgrade on my truly ancient 2-year-old primo computer, just to be able to use more than 127 GB. But the upgrade requires writing a bootable CD-R that for some reason is not up to the task.) However, I have sufficiently digressed.

So this one message that turned up caught my fancy. A promotion that somehow slipped through the federal no-call block list I heartily support as a consumer (and, as a Upoc employee, compartmentalize from the marketing activities of my employer). It offered a cool deal in its pre-recorded spiel, starting with six powerful words, "Hi! We're giving away free cars!" Well, as it happens, I have barely one month left on a 4-year lease, so "free cars" caught my attention. Shit. Wheels is wheels. And free is fantastic. So I listened on . . .

This is the entire transcript, spoken by an earnest young female, word for word:

(I have naturally attached the original audio, for your legal pleasure.)

"Hi! We're giving away free cars! Yes, you heard it right. We're willing to give you a brand new car for free! This is not a lottery or any kind of trick.

"Where's the catch? Nowhere! You simply get to drive it with our advertising on it and keep the brand new free car for two years. There is more. We will pay you to do that! You could make between $400 and $3,200 a month, just to drive around, minding your business, the same way you're doing it every day. In fact, you're doing it right now . . . not even knowing that you could actually get paid for it!

"If you don't want a brand new free car, we can put our vinyl in movable advertising on your existing car. If the one you already own is a little beat up, then you will get to pimp your ride and you're on your way, looking good! (As long as you're making between 800 and 4,000 miles a month.)

"Our cars are all covered in colorful vinyl removable advertising and look really cool.

"If this is not a good deal, well, we don't know what else is. In order to sign up, please log onto our website at WWW - FREECARFREECASH - dot -COM.


and in various inflections,


increased earnisty:


That is then followed by a somewhat embarrassed, terse, "Thank you," and a speech-synthesized, "GOODBYE".

Laurel, in typical lickety-split fashion, clicked off to the Web site and read the fine print aloud. Considering, we sorta realized we accumulate. . . um, not exactly four thousand, but rather maybe four, just four, miles a month. "How far is it to the Wendy's?" I asked Laurel.

"Damn, we really might not qualify," thought I in abject depression, while visualizing one end of the colorful car up on blocks, spinning the driving wheels to rack the odometer.

Then we both said, in typical synchronicity, "Who else of our close friends and loved ones might benefit from this incredible offer?"

Oh, of course, Biggo, the brother of my ExGF. Plug in his zip code -- 29401 . . . "Congratulations!" came back the Web reply. "The FreeCar finder has found programs available in your area." Wow, this is cool. All my relatives, gainfully employed.

Say. How about, Petey, the brother of . . . of ME. In the middle of the Arizona desert. Try that zip. 85212 . . . "Congratulations!" again.

So then the light began to break over the mental horizon. ZIP code? Rip code! Is no ZIP sacred?

Plug in 66666. (No way 66666 is a legitimate zip, right?)

The Internet paused but a nanosecond. "Congratulations!"

Just to confirm, ever for authenticity, Laurel checked the Web for the geographical location of 66666 and -- big surprise -- it was not listed. Ah ha!

So then we knew. The progenitor of this incredible offer was none other than the D-man, himself, Sir Satan. And that sexy voicemail was left by Satan's Secretary. (Mmmm, I'll bet she's hot!)

Free cars? Oh yeah!

Just As We Thought.