Take a Gesund-hike



            I handed the clerk $2.99 for a triple-pack of Kleenex and paid for it with my soul.

            The exchange occurred at a large office supply store. This super-chain retains high-class lawyers and allocates millions for litigation. My single connection to the law is cousin Arthur, whose courtroom knowledge stems from watching Law and Order. And since my pear-shaped figure doesn't mix well with prison stripes, no mention of the company's name shall be made. The store will heretofore be referred to as Fasteners.

            I opened an e-mail from Fasteners and a picture of Kleenex appeared, along with a note thanking me for shopping at their store. I spent a mere $2.99, but considered the communication a nice gesture.

            Soon another message arrived, "We hope you're happy with your Kleenex. We thought you might like these items as well." Pictures and descriptions popped up, all products I needed based on my original purchase.

            Few made sense. Hand sanitizer, I agree, is good to have when you're sick. I wasn't. Fasteners also suggested I buy window cleaner. Sneezing without covering my mouth might call for a spritz to my panes, but I reiterate I didn't have a cold.

            Making a connection to the remaining items proved trickier than taking the Miller Analogy's. Folgers, for example, does one drink more coffee when in the possession of three packs of tissues? I dug deep for a common link. Gummy Bears, folders, rubber chew toys and a stapler? (Attention lawyers, this last item does not refer to any company bearing a similar name.)

            Coupon after coupon bombarded my computer. I developed an unattractive tick activated each time I heard an inbox ping.

            Next came stern notes insisting it was time to reorder. I had used only two tissues: one to clean my glasses, the other to relocate a spider from my living room to its new home in the trash. Even Barbra Streisand during flu season would still be working on box number one.

            Offers of free shipping and a wild array of bonus deals came in like locust. Desperation oozed from the screen as if the fate of the corporation rested solely on my next purchase.

            Finally, Fasteners campaigned for me to write a review of my product and post it online.           

            I thought of Lauren Bacall, "You know how to use Kleenex, don't you consumers? Just press the tissue to your nose and... blow." I refrained.

            I vowed, the day I send a testimonial for tissues is the day all clerks can count out exact change without the use of a computer.

                Enough. To save my sanity, I took a scissor to my Fasteners' card and asked to be withdrawn from their system. It took sixteen requests and a threat to send cousin Arthur and Mariska Hargitay to corporate headquarters before the barrage ended.

            The stress of the media blitz caused my immune system to take a nose dive.

            I caught a cold. 

            My only comfort?  Three boxes of Kleenex facial tissues.