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'Please Rob Me' -- Premier Media Ratings Company Edition

In our continuing quest to bring you news of all the ways a person -- or a company -- can beg to get robbed, I present the latest installment of "Please Rob Me," this one inspired by a personal experience.

No, I haven't been mugged here on the dangerous streets of Austin, Texas. But I have been chosen to be a Nielsen TV Ratings Family. It's a multistep process, involving postcards and letters and phone calls, but the bottom line for "Please Rob Me" purposes is that Nielsen's initial survey -- to assess whether you qualify to participate -- comes with two $1 bills. Cash money through the mail. The package containing the week-long "TV Diaries" that I'm supposed to keep religiously starting on Thursday contained $30. An Andrew and an Alex, if you will, just tucked right into the cardboard envelope there.

Sending cash in the mail is not, despite what you might have heard, illegal. As the good folks at Snopes point out, if it were, your grandma would be a criminal. But, again, just because something may not be illegal doesn't make it a good idea. Nielsen apparently sends out 2 million TV diaries a year. Assuming the average household has three TVs (as opposed to my 2), that means 666,667 envelopes floating around the U.S. Mail with 30 bones inside each. $20 million in cash waiting to be snatched.

Nielsen doesn't do the "plain brown wrapper" thing either. If you see one of these envelopes, there's no doubt who it came from or why.

I got my $30 (and promptly spent it here). But I do believe the Nielsen Company is just asking to get robbed.

Posted by Eric Lipman on June 29, 2010 at 11:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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