Women came home to identical congratulatory notes celebrating their supposed pregnancy along with nearly $250 worth of gift cards to splurge on baby products.
Imagine this: You receive a frantic call/text from your alarmed parents who go on to inform you that they've just received a very intriguing letter in your name from someone named Jenny B. "Is there something we need to know?" they ask. You then spend the next 15 or so minutes trying to convince them that you aren't pregnant and that you have no idea who Jenny B is. "Perhaps it was a mistake, perhaps this Jenny meant to send the pregnancy card to someone else and messed up the address," you say.
Several women across the country recently had pretty much this exact conversation with their flabbergasted parents after a mysterious Jenny B sent out pregnancy cards and supposedly "free" gift coupons in their names. Only, many of Jenny's "friends" aren't actually pregnant and none of them have the faintest idea who she is. What the heck, right?
just had to talk my mom down off a ledge after some scam artist mailed my home address some pregnancy and baby gift cards. thank u jenny b from utah!!! how’s your tuesday??? pic.twitter.com/VOl8JRokEH— lauren (@misslaurenj) October 22, 2019
According to a report by Independent, the Jenny B pregnancy mail storm hit women across the country towards the end of last month. Many came home to identical, seemingly handwritten, congratulatory notes celebrating their supposed pregnancy along with nearly $250 worth of gift cards to splurge on baby products. Featuring a cartoon avocado with heart planted on its chest, the front of the card reads, "Holy guacamole! You’re going to avo baby!" For some, Jenny's mail found its way to their parents' addresses, setting the recipients up for an incredibly awkward conversation with the soon-to-not-be-grandparents.
I have also succumbed to this Jenny B. scam. Who even sends fake pregnancy cards?? My mom wasn't even concerned but my dad was! This Jenny B. is trying to ruin lives! pic.twitter.com/Uw3Bawh1op— Elena Valdez (@el3n47) October 29, 2019
"It's very disturbing that they had my address," remarked Julia Hellman, one of the women on Jenny's mail list. She said that while she "knew it was some sort of scam" and therefore "was not even going to try and use the gift cards, but the fact that there were, like, hand-cut coupons made it seem more real." Inside Jenny's handwritten letters, Hellman and all the other women who received the pregnancy mail found identical congratulatory messages that said "Congratulations!!! I'm so excited for you! I hope you like these." So much for personalization, right?
Thanks Jenny B for the nice scam and for giving my mother a heart attack!! pic.twitter.com/5rpgVeC5n0— Sydnie Meath (@sydddnieee) October 24, 2019
Author A. P. Hawkins, one of the unwitting recipients of Jenny's mail, revealed, "They sent it to my parents' house, so I had to do damage control with my mom. It took some convincing to get her to believe me that this wasn't my weird way of telling her I was pregnant. While it may not be a scam in that the coupons might be real, it still strikes me as somewhat predatory. If it were just, 'Hey possible soon to be parent, here's some coupons!', I don't think anyone would react to finding it in their mailbox. But instead it's, 'Hey friend who is definitely pregnant, here's $250 in gift cards that I bought for you, shop with these companies!'"
A hand-addressed envelope for me. Nothing suspicious here, except they sent it to my parents house and it looks like the sorting machine tore the return address off, so we don't know who it's from. The zip code indicates Utah. Also, a barcode at the bottom? Hmmm 🤔 2/ pic.twitter.com/ts5IdRAOig— A.P. Hawkins 🌻🍃🍂 (@ahawkwrites) October 23, 2019
WHAT THE FUCK? A hand-written message from some woman named "Jenny B". I don't know anyone named Jenny B. BUT WAIT. IT GETS BETTER 4/ pic.twitter.com/P1cJdWr2L4— A.P. Hawkins 🌻🍃🍂 (@ahawkwrites) October 23, 2019
SO anyway, after I explained to my mom in no uncertain terms that I am 100% NOT PREGNANT, hung up the phone, and recovered from my fit of hysterics, Tyler did some quick googling. And GUESS WHAT 6/— A.P. Hawkins 🌻🍃🍂 (@ahawkwrites) October 23, 2019
Turns out it's some elaborate (and terrible) marketing ploy. There's at least one Reddit thread about it. Hundreds of women have gotten these letters recently. And the $245.00 in gift cards? Elaborately disguised coupons. Not gift cards at all. 8/https://t.co/GhwU3DIikG— A.P. Hawkins 🌻🍃🍂 (@ahawkwrites) October 23, 2019
So who exactly is Jenny B and why is she on a nationwide mail-athon? As it turns out, the whole thing was a private company's insensitive and way out-of-line version of a promotional campaign. All of the gift coupons included in the mail traced back to brands owned by Mother's Lounge, a company selling "darling car seat accessories" that are "endorsed all over Instagram." And this isn't even the first time they have pulled something like this. The Better Business Bureau revealed that it had contacted the company earlier this year "requesting modification or discontinuation of certain practices of the company." The bureau warned the company not to send out "gift cards," a strategy deemed "questionable."
OKAY LADIES- This mail came addressed to me at my parents home address. Was highly confused because ya girl AIN’T knocked up and I don’t know a Jenny B. Apparently it’s a scam going around, so if you get it... be warned. I’ll take a pregnancy pillow though lol pic.twitter.com/rfhggkYXIr— Megan (@meegmichelle) October 23, 2019
The bureau also requested that the company stop its practice of increasing shipping fees from free to $11.97 when using the gift cards it provides. It issued a warning to women across America last month, alerting them about the Jenny B scam. "n the past, consumers have complained that adding a gift card to their orders appears to increase the shipping cost. BBB questioned Mother’s Lounge’s owner, Jeanette Pierce, regarding the increase in price. This increase appears to cover the majority of the cost of the gift card. No response was received. BBB believes that the business should modify or discontinue the advertising campaign as consumers are confused and the price for a product or shipping should not be increased when a gift certificate is used," reads the release.
ALERT: Got a random card from “Jenny B” congratulating me on my preganancy (no I’m not pregnant) and it was filled with “gift cards.” I was super creeped out until a simple Google search revealed this is a card scam. pic.twitter.com/3LqXyaWbir— Katherine Lam (@byKatherineLam) November 4, 2019
Meanwhile, some recipients of the letters expressed concern about what implications it could have for other women who do not realize that it's all a scam. "For a financially struggling parent to get that letter and think it's real only to go shopping and realize it isn't would be a crushing blow. Not to mention people struggling with infertility. So it's definitely a terrible and weird marketing choice, at best," said Hawkins.
So that's the story. It's a funny anecdote for me, but for couples struggling with fertility issues, receiving one of these could have caused real trauma. So shame on you, Jenny B. of Utah. I hope you didn't pay for a marketing degree because you are truly terrible at it 🤦🏼♀️ /9 pic.twitter.com/wLhtHiwmw7— A.P. Hawkins 🌻🍃🍂 (@ahawkwrites) October 23, 2019