Does anyone remember the Publishers Clearing House of yesteryear?  The envelope would arrive with little stickers tucked inside.  You could order popular magazines at a nice discount.  They'd also enter you in their sweepstakes.

Nostalgia be damned.  They now swindle people via phone apps and through their website, should your parents be computer savvy.

PCH has gone too far with their bullshit, as I recently discovered.

With my mother in the hospital, I have spent over two months dealing with DAILY mailings from this organization.  Our mailbox is also inundated with a metric crapton of adverts from other companies. And, to make matters worse, my parents receive far too many telephone solicitations.

The culprit?  Considering I registered my parents' landline as a "do not call" number, the only way telemarketers could get the number is if someone in the house gave permission to an agency.  Publisher's Clearing House, to be exact.

PCH is infamous for selling your shit.  Address, phone number, email...this is one way that they make money.  But I digress.

The mailings are, at times, confusing.  Letters arrive that inform you that you belong to an elevated customer category and, to retain that status, you should order something from them immediately.

They send letters stating you can win $5k more on top of the $Xk a week winnings.  The letters contain "handwritten" statements penned by their CEO/VP/Whatever.   

    "Act now, Lillian!"  
          "Don't throw away this important document!"  
                "You have won $5 a week for life! what we'll say if you hold the winning number; order today!"
PCH was investigated by the Senate Special Committee on Aging. As a result, PCH must now put a disclaimer in the envelope stating that purchases don't increase chances of winning the main prize (in very small font that even I have a hard time reading, usually inserted between junk).

They were sued in NY.  California and other states jumped on board.

They have swindled the elderly out of their life savings.

They prey specifically on our elderly.  My own mother begged me to be ready on February 28 - the day the prize patrol will hand out the winning check, televised via NBC.

Knock Knock! The Prize Patrol Could Be At Your Door!

"They might show up at our door", she advised with all seriousness. The tone in her voice was very clear: be there and tell them I'm in the hospital.  

I swear, if they show up at our door, I'll hand them the garbage bags filled with PCH mailings and all the shit my parents ordered over the last two years.

Meanwhile, my father (with his limited reasoning ability due to his ailments) thumbs through every letter in hope of finding something nifty to order.  My husband and I are paying their mortgage and water bill because they don't have money, yet they faithfully pay PCH each month (averaging $130 - which would cover the water bill).

Needless to say, all the shit PCH sells is nothing but cheaply made products that either don't work or else break upon first use. They trick you into ordering an 'electric' whisk, for example, for five easy payments of $5.99.

Want your loved one removed from their mailing list?  Here are two options:

For inquiries, comments or questions about other sweepstakes companies write to or call the Direct Marketing Association in Washington D.C. You can reach them by mail, e-mail or telephone.

Direct Marketing Association
1111 19th Street, NW - Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-861-2475

 Or do nothing. The alternative is finding your parents' house or apartment crammed with things supposedly designed to make life easier for the elderly.  Things like this:

Not only does this useless thing not work as intended but, after a month, it stops working at all.