Daze of My Life: Hook or Crook?

Daze of My Life
Hook or Crook?

All right. I admit it; when it comes to money and chocolate, I'm greedy and I'm weak, especially when they're combined, somehow. When I saw the email headline "Complete chocolate survey and receive $10" addressed to me in my in box, I couldn't resist. Money and chocolate together; that makes peanut butter and chocolate tasteless by comparison. That's not to say I wouldn't happily bite into a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup right now, even if it's 8:30 on a Saturday morning; it's more that the former has a bit more staying power than the latter.
And when it has to do with money and chocolate, staying power is a good thing.
And so I double-clicked on the chocolate survey headline and guess what appeared? A questionnaire requesting all sorts of personal-type information: name, date of birth, gender, marital status, household income, etc. As I typed and clicked my way through the answers, I felt as if I was being lead down the garden path, and not simply to smell the roses. This is chocolate, not the census.
Why all the questions? I thought the inquiry was about taste, not socio-economics. So I stopped answering, way before I provided my social security number, which I realize, given the identity theft risk, is not merely a no no but a never never.
Nevertheless, despite the fact that I did not complete the survey nor submit it for processing, I have, as you might have guessed, been deluged with similar-sounding electronic solicitations; offers galore, you might say, and that's putting it mildly. I had given an inch of interest and as result of that briefest of lapses, I have received a mile of "Free" possibilities. It's as if the world now knows that Kenny Lourie can be baited by chocolate and money and if the timing of the email inquiry is just right, there will be another sap (yours truly) on board.
Apparently now, yours truly is what we call in the sales business a "qualified lead," to be pursued and hounded until either I cease and desist--to be alive--or change my email address--and thus become unreachable, temporarily, anyway--and never, ever respond to a "Free" offer again. If only it were that simple.
Really, I should know better. I wasn't born yesterday (hardly).
I don't know much about computers or Internet service providers, but I do know that they are portals to the Promised Land (and unpromised land for some), especially for information seekers, some of whom may not exactly be trustworthy. And the gathering of information, specifically personal information, without permission, is the new currency for criminals wanting to get paid without leaving their homes. And offers/solicitations like the one I responded to--and the ones I continue to receive--are indeed the stuff that dreams are made of--just not mine.
So I need to be strong and not give in to temptation, because even though chocolate might melt in my hands not my mouth and money may very well be the root of all evil, I have to tell you, even with their imperfections, together, for me, they're a powerful combination.
If I had to pick between the two, however, I'd probably take the money over the chocolate. I could always use the money to buy some chocolate; not just over the Internet.

Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.