Junk mail is junk mail. We all know what to do with it. But surely this one is right over the top.
So thought David Jones as he perused the latest flier from Barclaycard. It invited him to borrow £25,000, no less, "for only £195.01 a month for 25 years and make it a really happy Christmas...
"Just think what you could buy with that kind of money... So get into the Christmas spirit right now - and apply today".
David, a stockbroker with Montague Capital in Stratford- upon Avon, reflected that the next 24 Christmases would be less happy for anybody foolish enough to take the bait. Sure enough, these are secured loans, with an exit penalty if you pay them off early, second mortgages with interest fixed at 8.4 per cent.
Just the way to finance Christmas fripperies, Barclaycard's marketing folk would like their customers to believe.
Wisely, their press relations people had no such illusion. "It must be someone else", was the first reaction. But the emailed text had "Barclaycard" all over it.
After a 24-hour pause for thought, the spokesman came back, as he put it, "with our hands up". "That shouldn't have gone out," he said. "That kind of marketing isn't appropriate for secured credit. We won't be looking at that letter moving forwards."
Yet this was not a passing lapse of judgment by an enthusiastic individual who thought it would be clever to sell second mortgages like unsecured car loans. It is the seasonal shot in a campaign that has been running for six months.
Tens of thousands of Barclaycard holders have been bombarded with letters in much the same vein.
So black mark Barclays - and a white mark for stopping the moment somebody complained.
Note, though, for the past year the mighty Financial Services Authority has been regulating mortgages and the way they are sold, with all its customary sound and fury. But when it came to this blatant mass mis-marketing campaign, it was Mr Jones who stopped it, with a bit of help from The Birmingham Post.
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There is little comfort to take from the reactions to yesterday's widely predicted interest rate standstill.
Industry is heading into another dismal winter, to judge from last month's CBI survey. Yet both the CBI and the EEF accept that the Bank of England was right to leave well alone.
Nervous shopkeepers are crossing their fingers ahead of Christmas - while the supernervous ones are already staging "mid-season" sales. And the British Retail Consortium, habitually a fervent champion of cheap money, is reluctantly equivocal.
True, the British Chambers of Commerce firmly urged the Bank to be bolder and "flexible".
But there is no mistaking the tide of opinion recognising that 2.5 per cent inflation when the target is 2.0 per cent is an unpromising point of departure.
The better news is the price of oil does seem to be settling below $60 a barrel and drifting down not up. If only the cost of energy just stops rising for a while a lot of the Bank's worries will subside.