"Thank God that I now have the privilege to contact you. May I now humbly introduce myself as I know that this mail may have reached you surprisingly. I am Eric Baadi, manager of Zenith Bank, Lagos, Nigeria. I have urgent and very confidential business proposition for you."
The Nigerian scam.
You've seen them in your inbox. You sit down to check your e-mail and, lo and behold, someone is offering you a cut in their stake at millions if you'll only give them your checking account information. Once the funds have cleared, they'll take most of their transfer and leave you with a percentage to thank you for helping them out.
Instead of deleting this incredible offer, I decided to respond, but with a twist.
"What an amazing offer! I would love to help. I'm so glad I checked this e-mail address, I haven't for a while, and know I know why God led me to do this. There is one problem ... I would be interested if I was given 50 percent of the total amount. I'd like nothing better than to be involved and to help you, but if you could consider raising the ante for me, I'll send you my info."
Heehee. I wanted this Nigerian to know where I stood: that I wasn't going to take his offer at face value without a little bargaining first. We'd both still come out on top, but I wanted more for my risk. In the next week he sent me a few e-mails wanting to know why I hadn't responded with my information.
"Please let me know if you are not longer interested in actualizing this transaction with me instead of delaying me by your non-response of my mails."
Well, I never. He made me mad with that snippy little e-mail. Its tone begged for a firm response.
"I have made an offer that you ignored. Fifty percent or no deal. Ignoring my offer is not an acceptable negotiation tactic."
Bam! You hit me and I'll hit back! He tried to soften up his approach with an explanation of his math.
"Thank you for your response to mail having waited for too long. Nevertheless, I will want to inform you that I never ignored your offer of 50 percent as I was only trying to let you see reasons that the 70 percent coming to me is not just for me but for my account director and myself. Notwithstanding, due to the pressure from this end as regards actualizing this transaction especially now that it has been scheduled for this second quarter of this fiscal year No. 4 transaction, my partner and I have decided to plead that you earnestly and wholeheartedly accept 35 percent so that both of us at this end can now settle for 55 percent while 10 percent still stands for the settlement of expenses. We pray that you be human enough to accept our offer so as to enable us commence immediately as we have spent our live savings to bring this transaction to this stage and will not want to delay further. Hoping to read from you today."
Human enough? Human enough? If he was going to question my character then it was time to end this little game. I'd had my fun.
"I regret to inform you that I won't be coming to your aid in regards to this matter. My bank accounts are tied up in penis enlargement investments and mail order university degrees. Thank you and good luck."
At this point our communication has ended. Too bad, I could have really used those millions.
Rob Felt is the photographer for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.