“The Sticker Club,” by Erin Clune

Aug 1st, 2012 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Dear (friend):

Do you love stickers?  Don’t you wish you had more?  How about bigger stickers?  Or fuzzier ones?  Are you one of those kids who has to earn stickers by doing menial chores around the house—like practicing piano, cleaning your room, or thanking your parents for almost everything they do?  When did parents turn stickers from an innocent childhood pastime into a tool of extortion and bribery?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions—except the last one, for which the answer is obviously “baby boomers”—then the “Sticker Club” is for you.  At the “Sticker Club,” we believe there’s nothing more valuable than peeling tiny pictures off of one piece of paper and sticking them onto another one.

Like you, we got sick and tired of giving our friends nice birthday presents, and having nothing to show for it but a motion-picture themed party favor bag full of crap.  If it weren’t for the Mexicans and their piñatas, most birthday parties would completely suck!   Join the “Sticker Club,” and you’ll never have to search hopelessly through another desk drawer, finding nothing but crayon shavings, oversized smelly pencils, and cheap novelty erasers.

Let’s be clear about what the “Sticker Club” isn’t.  The “Sticker Club” was definitely not invented by a Chinese man pretending to be a kid.  The “Sticker Club” is also not a real organization.  Like chess club, or the Girl Scouts.  No one at the “Sticker Club” has to sit around and listen to twaddle about “giving back.”  The “Sticker Club” isn’t about real human relationships because it’s a high yield investment program.  If you don’t know what that means, ask your mom.  But any woman who makes you dance like a circus monkey for a few sheets of one-sided tape probably doesn’t understand the fundamentals of finance.

The important thing is that the “Sticker Club” will never ask you to learn any skills.  Or earn your membership by putting on a weird green socialist labor suit and selling shortbread to elderly neighbors.  The “Sticker Club” is for kids who are ready to see some math work for them.

Here’s our secret formula:

First, buy a new pack of stickers and send it to the kid in the Number One (#1) spot below.  Don’t worry that you don’t know them, and have no idea what stickers they like.  The exciting thing about the “Sticker Club” is that it gets kids to exchange unsolicited retail products anonymously through the mail.  Since the “Sticker Club” is run by kids—and only financed by their moms—it is definitely not a mail fraud scheme promoted by unlicensed, off-brand sticker companies.  Just send your name and address to a bunch of complete strangers, and they send you a shit ton of free stickers.  Who needs to wait around all year for stocking stuffers, right?  Screw that fat ass, Santa Claus!

Next, make Twelve (12) copies of the included blank letter.  On Six (6) of the copies, move my name to the Number One (#1) spot.  Put your own name in the Number Two (#2) spot.  If you want to write your own name and address in sloppy, nearly illegible kindergarten handwriting, that’s fine.  Just make sure your mom sends the stickers to the person in the Number One (#1) Spot and moves my name up.  Let’s go, Betty Crocker, put a hustle on it!

Finally, send the letter and blank copies to Six (6) other friends. If your mom can’t find six (6) other moms willing to help, that’s probably because they have more important things to do with their time.  Like, they work outside the home.  Or, they’re busy making sure that children never smile.  If that happens, try giving the letters to some foreign-born classmates.  Especially if they are Russian or Albanian.  If they don’t understand what “Sticker Club” means, just repeat the words “free gift” over and over until they take the papers.  The right immigrant family will recognize a good deal when they see it.

If none of your neighborhood friends can participate, try sending the copies to people who live far away. Out of state recruitment works best when local markets are saturated. Also, “far away friends” sometimes feel bad they never visit.  Of course, the “Sticker Club” can be enjoyed by exclusive invitation only—just like French face cream, and “luxury” vacation condos.  If you need help with recruitment, the “Sticker Club” can also provide you with a non-refundable training video.  This will be sent—at a small, personal cost to you—from an undisclosed overseas location.  Bills may contain unspecified shipping charges, prices may vary by state, and stickers cannot be accepted as payment.

Follow these instructions and within just Two (2) weeks, you’ll receive Thirty-Six (36) packs of stickers!  Because the “Sticker Club” is a proprietary program, we make no promises or predictions as to what your gifts will be.  You might get hundreds of glittery hearts.  Or a sassy bunch of tumbling Care Bears.  You could even receive Thirty-Six (36) packages of 3D sea animals.  And that would be amazing because really—where can’t you stick a puffy octopus?

But you need to act fast!  Get your envelopes, paper, and stamps ready.  If your mom is dragging her heels, tell her you can’t stick if you don’t lick!  Because the “Sticker Club” will only keep this offer open for Six (6) days.

If you decide not to join the “Sticker Club,” let my mom know right away.  If you’re old enough to send mail to a stranger, you can pick up the phone and explain why you’re letting all the other kids in your club down.  And why is that?  Because you hate mail?  Or because you just have too much fun playing by yourself, with no friends and no awesome stickers?

If you do join, of course, there’s a small chance you’ll receive Zero (0) stickers anyway.  That will be too bad.  But at least then you’ll know your friends are weak links.  Who probably don’t care about you.  And isn’t it better you found that out now, before they crush even more of your dreams?

Congrats on joining the “Sticker Club.” Good luck!

Your friend,



Erin Clune is a writer and public radio contributor living in Madison, Wisconsin. Her humor essays have aired nationally on To the Best of Our Knowledge and All Things Considered.  She writes local food stories for Edible magazine and WPR’s Wisconsin Life.  She also writes essays for her blog, “Life After NY: Musings from the Third Coast,” which can be found on the internet.  She recently won the first place humor prize from the Wisconsin Writer’s Association.

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