By Patricia Sellers
April 6, 2010

I got my AARP card in the mail last night.

At 10:30 p.m., 90 minutes shy of my 50th birthday. I’m sitting on my sofa, watching the Duke-Butler basketball game and staring at an AARP envelope in my mail pile.

Wow! What timing, I thought. Actually, I’d expected them to try to lure me before now, since I know someone who got solicited at 40–and a 22-year-old who joined.

But this was my first solicitation, as far as I know. And how impressive that AARP was sending Happy Birthday wishes along with the hard sell

I ripped open the envelope. And I found…no wishes. No recognition of my birthday at all. A flimsy piece of paper included a generic solicitation to join for $16 a year. Pasted to it: a temporary AARP card.

Chilly.

With the massive database and marketing might that AARP is known for, why wouldn’t they customize? I wonder. Now I suspect that the timing of their invitation to me, one day before my 50th, was just a coincidence.

But it worked. I’m joining anyway.

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