Mailing Leaves a Bad Taste for Some

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Business-to-business cataloger 4imprint issued an advisory this week after a handful of those who received a recent promotional mailer called the company concerned about a "powdery substance" that turned out to be mints crushed during shipment.

"These mailings were dropped prior to the anthrax scare," said Gregg Iott, vice president of business development at 4imprint. "Had we known about the anthrax scare beforehand we obviously would have put together a different sampling mailing. Nowadays anything in the mail that seems a little suspect is going to cause concern."

4Imprint, Oshkosh, WI, does two sampler mailings each month of its pens, mugs, calculators, watches and other promotional products. The mailing that caused the problem went out several weeks ago, before anthrax concerns reached such a high level. It was sent to 20,000 to 25,000 customers and included a new product called Buttermints along with a notepad and a small screwdriver.

"We definitely would have picked another item if we knew there was a chance of this happening," Iott said. "We have to be very sensitive with our mailings since sample mailings is the way we go to market with the products provided by our vendors."

The first calls began coming in this week, and Iott said the company had received seven or eight so far. A day after receiving the first call, 4imprint e-mailed, called or faxed a letter to everyone who received the mailing.

A portion of the letter reads: "You may have already received your sample package or it is on its way. Unfortunately, the packages entered the mail stream before the recent anthrax scare and may have become crushed during delivery leaving a yellowish-white powder inside your envelope."

A toll-free contact number was provided for anyone who had questions.

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