Middle Class Problems: What to do when you receive a refer-a-friend offer?


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Older readers may remember the horror of receiving a grubby, anonymous chain letter; younger readers are hopefully lucky enough to have no idea what they are – though they'll be sadly all too familiar with their digital counterparts.

To say that chain letters are extreme versions of refer-a-friend digital offers may be going a bit far, but really, both raise the same issue, don't they? Namely, what to do when you receive one.

Where chain letters used the malicious threat of curses or horrific events befalling you if you didn't pass them on, refer- a-friend offers opt for the more user-friendly carrot-and-stick method of discounts and freebies to coerce us into divulging friends' details to the Machiavellian machinations of the marketing department – basically, they appeal to our naked greed.

It can't hurt if I pass on Betty's details to the nice persuasive people at subscribetoaboxofoverpricedtat.com, can it? After all, who wouldn't want to receive a monthly box filled with lotions and potions ?

And surely Leon will appreciate that offer of a free month's gym pass if he signs up for an annual membership? After all, he's always saying he needs to join one, and I'm sure we've known each other long enough that he won't take offence.

And when it comes down to it, I seem to recall my new pair of glasses, veg box, wine subscription, weekly recipes and bi-monthly chocolate delivery all came via friends' referrals… Now, didn't I see a recent one for a zero interest-credit card offer?