Thursday, June 15, 2006

How Can I Tell You?

Here's how it started. I got one of those often-forwarded e-mails from a friend about the pink and white M&Ms and how for every 8-ounce bag you buy, Masterfoods will donate 50¢ to a breast cancer research foundation. Have you seen this e-mail? It's fairly popular. It implored me to "pick up a bag" and to tell "all my family and friends." The kicker was the quote at the bottom from Robert Kennedy about how each of us can work in a small way to change history. Like Bobby Kennedy is referring to M&Ms!
This whole thing was irritating. I'm suppose to eat junk food, and encourage my friends to eat junk food, in order to cure breast cancer? What's Masterfoods going to do to cure the heart disease we are all going to get from downing bags of M&Ms? If I want to give money to support breast cancer research I can just write a check myself, which I did to my cousin who recently completed the Avon Breast Cancer Walk. And if Masterfoods wants to give money to breast cancer research, they should just do it and not sucker consumers into buying candy. Well, my kids must have been out of the house that day and I had nothing else to do because I finally Googled a section of the e-mail and it brought me to a site called "Fact or Fiction" which said that this promotion had expired a while ago.
So, I wrote a message in response to the e-mail, something along the lines of, "not only is it inane to think that eating candy is going to help cure breast cancer, this offer is expired." I put in a link to the Fact or Fiction website. It wasn't worded exactly that way, but it was along those lines. Yes, I could have put it more gently, but I was irritated, remember? These people want consumers to believe that going out and buying a bag of candy is a good thing. And people do believe it. So I hit "reply all." In retrospect I should have just informed my friend who sent the original message and let her decide whether on not to tell the other people on her list but easy access is one of the caveat's of e-mail isn't it?
So, I get an e-mail from my friend saying a benign, "leave it to you to look into this;" then I get e-mails from her friends telling me among other things that: a) I'm a bad person, b) I better hope I never get cancer, and c) it's a wonder anyone tries to do anything good in this world with jerks like me around?
I was going to bring up the fact that I'd recently donated $25 for breast cancer research and I didn't even have to eat 50 bags of M&Ms to do it, and, the only people benefitting from this promotion was the M&M company, not to mention the promotion is expired so the whole thing's a moot point, but I let it rest.
But I ask you, though maybe I shouldn't, was I wrong?

song: How Can I Tell You? • artist: Cat Stevens

1 comment:

Liz said...

Wow. I suspect that those who can't see the logic in your case against buying the pink M&Ms are either mortified that they didn't see the logic themselves before eating several bags, or, hm, dare I say, they can't see the logic. The second is frightening but not entirely unexpected. That being said, it is important that people are aware and reminded of the breast cancer issue, but the powers-that-be should put more thought into whom they select to promote their message. That M&Ms was chosen as a partner leads me to wonder (correctly or incorrectly) at how difficult it must be to get funding for breast cancer research.
An aside on the mass e-mailing phenom--why is it OK for people to send unsolicited promotions, opinions, jokes and "send this to your friends or else" messages but clearly not OK for one to comment negatively on said mailings?