The following is an email I found when I was dredging through my archives, trying to delete hundreds of useless emails. I sent it out in January 2004, which was just before I started this blog. Otherwise, I'm sure I would have posted it here.
I should have done my honors thesis on something like this -- I could have used my other satire piece and could have tested out more things. I could have called it "The impact of dripping satire on undergraduate drips."
(Names were #'d out where I found it appropriate; it is otherwise presented in its original form. Needless to say, there is a big [SIC] to put in over this whole post, as well as tiny [sic]s to put in, where appropriate, in the email messages that I quote from.)
Subject: Having Fun at FSU
In the middle of football season, the obvious abuse of the email server at FSU was getting out of control. People haggled for prices over Miami tickets as if they were vital organs. Remember that each FSU student is guaranteed a free coupon for each home football game, and it is their responsibility to turn it in for a real ticket the week before the specified game. People were selling both student coupons and tickets online. This is about the time I got a free coupon to see an advanced screening of the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Psychological experiment Number One:
Wednesday, October 1st, 2003. I sent out the following email to everyone in the honors program at FSU:
Subject: I REALLY HATE MASS E-MAILS, ... but
"I really hate mass emails. However, although it would be a big
inconvenience for all of you, I've found that it would be an even bigger
convenience for me.
Thus, I am here to offer you a chance to see THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.
For a low price of $100 (let the bidding begin), you will be able to see
this remake of a classic by purchasing a coupon that I got for free (with
some planning and foresight). Cash only, please."
Though obvious in its blaring cynical sarcasm, I soon began to get responses to my message.
#1 "i hope this is a joke"
"It is. Unless someone actually offers me $100 that is..."
#2 "Where do you get all the e-mail addresses for the mass mailing??
I told her where to find the information, but that my intention was to deter use of the system for personal gain.
Following are a few responses from outraged people (edited):
#3 "who the hell would pay $100 for a movie?"
#4 "Please never e-mail me again, no matter how good of an offer you are
#5 "$100 for something that we can pay the regular movie ticket price for
whenever it comes out? Are you insane?"
#6 "TAKE ME OFF YOUR EMAIL LIST!!!!!!!" (I'm sad this person didn't understand the true nature of my experiment. Meh.)
#7 "You selfish f***. Wasting everyone's time just thinking about yourself"
#8 "I'm hoping u mean 1.00 and if u do, im interested~Katie" (at least Katie took this lightly.)
Why would you sell a ticket for $100 for this movie when you got the damn
ticket for FREE? I mean come on! When the general public can see it for
free when it DOES come out."
Though this writer chose to be "anonymous," a very subtle clue lead me to the discovery of her true identity- the "From" field of the email: "Ms. Mariana #. ####" #####@... (she even used the FSU email account, which meant it would take me 5 seconds to look up her name on the roster- if she hadn't posted it in the From section of her outgoing mail).
I promptly sent a reply:
Dear "anonymous 'Ms. Mariana #. ####' (as posted on your outgoing message),"
"I am truly sorry. I did not wish to evoke hostility among the honors
students here at Florida State. My email was a socially-aware satire on
the abuse of the blackboard system by people trying to better themselves-
it was not a sincere effort to sell a "free coupon," as I see and was
trying to point out the irony of this occurrence amongst the several
solicitations daily to purchase or sell free student coupons. I hope you
understand now and am sorry for any misinterpretation of my satirical
Justin de la Cruz
To which she replied
Subject: your apology
"I didn't know you were "targeting" someone, in this case, FSU's
Blackboard system. I thought you personally was selling this ticket."
Some people just don't get it...
#10 "Dude, you're a huge f***ing dumbass. Those coupons are still available
for free at the Student Life Building. They're giving more out on Monday
to anyone with an FSU card. Plus, why would anyone want to pay 100
dollars just to see a movie a week and a half in advance?"
Because he was so adamant, I sent him the same reply that I sent to Ms. Bens, to which he humbly replies
"I thought you might of been joking because it was so rediculous what you
were saying. Now that I know, I like what you did, I thought it was
funny, and I apologize for attacking you for being stupid, when in truth
it was myself who was being stupid."
Conclusion: Everyone who sent me an email thought that I was sincere in trying to sell a free coupon to a movie for $100. I am sure some understood my message upon first reading- I just did not receive any correspondence from those who did. I decided to share this experience with others, as every time I read the "anonymous" email, I find myself laughing at the expense of others. Thank you for your time spent reading this.