You could see it would come to this. No, not the coronavirus. We’re talking about the never-ending onslaught of e-mails from companies eager to “share” their “response” to the coronavirus.

What began as necessary, early-days communications from companies such as airlines, updating a concerned and confused public about what they were doing to mitigate the spread of a deadly virus, have, in that uniquely American way, become a crass means to sell crap. Hucksterism wrapped in fear.

We’re All in This Together … So Please Buy Something from Us

Hello Molly (women’s fashion)

SUBJECT: “We’re all in this together”

“We realize in this time of social distancing party dresses are not ‘essential’ but we have never needed an excuse to look and feel fabulous!”

Mpix (photographic prints)

“We’re all in this together. Even though you are social distancing, your photos continue to bring us immense joy and connection to humanity.”

Monos (luggage)

“We’re in this together. Take 35% off all luggage. Code: FAMILY35.”

Help Us Help You … by Buying Something from Us

Harborside Yacht Sales

“Social Distancing? No problem. Nowadays, we can do EVERYTHING virtually.… We are here to help YOU during these times of uncertainty.”

Minted (stationery and fine-art prints)

“We know that facing uncertainty is stressful and raises questions about where to go from here. Minted is committed to helping you through this difficult time. We have spent the past few days preparing our customer service team to assist you.”

Goby (electric toothbrushes)

“WE’RE HERE FOR YOU. To our Goby family, as we continue to get daily updates about the global impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19), we wanted to take a moment to let you know we are here for you! We understand how the ever-changing information that you are hearing can be scary and at no point do we take this lightly. During a time that can cause such anxiety, you are still taking care of yourself.”

Bubbe’s Steam Wash

“We Are Here to Help.… Bubbe’s is now offering a MOBILE cleaning service for those wanting to keep their car looking great but also—and arguably more important—have it properly sanitized and disinfected while operating from home.”

Parlour H

“Well, seeing as we’re all stuck at home for a bit, we’re sure you could use some hair help.”

Porsche Centre Calgary

“We know that you may not be thinking about buying or servicing your vehicles at this time, but we want you to know that we at Porsche Centre Calgary, are here for you and are committed to providing the highest possible customer care and safety through these uncertain times.”

Discounts! (Because We’re Worried About You, Not Us)

Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning

“It’s a very difficult time for all of us and we are all under a great deal of stress. Our records indicate that you are overdue for a gutter cleaning service.... Since you are overdue, we wanted to reach out and give you the opportunity to call us while we can still service your home. Because we understand that times are hard, we are offering a limited time discount to help ease the burden of this expense.”

Priorities, People!

Grieve Family Winery

“While ‘sheltering in’ has become the new norm, I wanted to reach out to see if we could help make this experience more enjoyable for you and your family with more of our Grieve Estate Sauvignon Blanc and Double Eagle Bordeaux Blend. I don’t know about you but our house is definitely a bottle a night right now!

Ewing Sports (sportswear and equipment)

“We recognize that this is a challenging time for all and there are many other priorities at the moment. Should you need ANYTHING from us, we want to lighten the financial burden on your family with the following [20 percent off] coupon.”

Greenwich Admissions Advisors (provider of “concierge-type” college-admissions advisory services; delivered via Party with Moms)

“Based on my experience, extensive historical research, along with emails and Skype discussions with admissions officers, the college admissions process is continuing.... We advise our clients that COVID-19 has not stopped college admissions, especially to the Ivies and highly competitive colleges and universities.”

Groupe (men’s fashion)

SUBJECT: “Be the Best Dressed Guy in the Zoom Meeting”

“For unexpected video chats, to keep up your pre-WFH routine, or as a daily dose of dignity, getting dressed can boost productivity & mood, making it especially important in times like these.”

Stay Focused! (Or Not … )

Cultiver (linens)

“When feeling overwhelmed and unsettled by the vicissitudes of life, it can be tempting to wish to disconnect entirely. While in theory, a digital detox can serve us well, in practical terms, now more than ever it’s important to keep up with the news, and stay connected through technology. Maybe it’s not about aspiring to disconnect, but rather finding small ways to switch off in the moments that allow, in order to protect our mental health.”

Marc Straus (art gallery)

“As a retired Oncologist, I know our healthcare providers are doing heroic work with minimal support. We can all help them and our loved ones by following health directives closely.... While the art world staggers, we strive to support our extraordinary artists and staff by offering a select group of collectors some fabulous artworks discounted by 20% or more. Such discounts are typically the exclusive domain of museums.”

I’m Not Like Everybody Else!

Bill Taylor (co-founder and editor of Fast Company)

“Hi Friend, If you’re like me, your inbox is filled with reassuring messages about the Covid-19 crisis from every restaurant at which you’ve eaten, every airline on which you’ve flown, every website from which you’ve purchased a gadget or widget.... This is not one of those messages.”*

[*Ed: Actually, it is: “I wanted to take a moment and share a few thoughts (and resources) about the right ways to cope with these tumultuous times, the best ways to lead your companies and colleagues, the smartest ways to process the rush of bad news and dire forecasts. So here are my thoughts, along with two book recommendations for all of you sheltering in place …”]

How to Do This Right (Hint: Humor)

Outdoor Tech (mobile Bluetooth technology)

“You like Huey Lewis and the News? Wait, what am I saying? Of course you do! Who could resist the visceral melodies of ‘The Power of Love?’ Not I, friend, not I. Huey is there for you during these strange times and Outdoor Tech is too. We are going to take the Power of Love and give it to you. Well, not give it away, it’s more of a discount. More of a ‘power coupon.’ … Use coupon code americanpsycho for 30% off anything in the portable power section on our web zone. You have until Friday.”

Lelo (sex toys)

SUBJECT: “Stay the Fuck Home: Rewarding Obedience, One Free Gift at a Time”

“Got Time, But Nothing to Do? You’ve already cleaned your house, started that 30-day yoga challenge you’ve been talking about for months, called your friends, now what?

Duff McDonald, a New York–based writer, is working on his sixth book