Officemax sent junkmail to Mike Seay at his address in Lindenhurst, IL, with the notation "Daughter Killed In Car Crash" under his name. Seay's 17 year old daughter was killed in a crash last year. Officemax says it bought Seay's name from a marketing company, and implies that the company had made the notation in its list. It's not clear what marketing purpose this information was intended for (is there a sub-list for "bereaved parents" that's rented out to grief counselors looking for business?) or whether this was a one-off in a data-entry department.
Seay is understandably very upset. The Officemax call-center person he spoke to refused to believe him, as did an official spokesdroid. He's seeking an apology from Officemax's CEO.
Seay, who is unemployed, said that he isn't interested in suing OfficeMax, but that since his wife was "traumatized" by the letter, he wants an apology from the company's chief executive.
He also wants to know how OfficeMax got the information. The last thing Seay remembers buying at OfficeMax since his daughter's death last February is some paper.
"Why do they have that?" Seay said of the information about his daughter's death. "What do they need that for? How she died, when she died? It’s not really personal, but looking at them, it is. That’s not something they would ever need."
Dad gets OfficeMax mail addressed 'Daughter Killed In Car Crash' [Matt Pearce/Los Angeles Times]
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.