I used to be a Staples Reward customer. I unsubscribed to the e-newsletter and cut up my card yesterday.

One of Staples main competitor's, Office Depot, is going through some rough times. Who isn't in this economy? In recent weeks, Office Depot has announced it will shut down some 126 stores and 33 distribution centers.

It's not pretty. But, it's also not fatal when you consider in this country alone that Office Depot has more than 1000 stores from coast to coast.

So here we are in the middle of the season of giving, charity and kindness to all and I get my monthly rewards newsletter from Staples via e-mail.

The headline reads, "You can always count on Staples." It's followed by the first couple of lines of the Office Depot press release announcing the store closures.

The newsletter goes on to fearmonger to office supply customers who might shop at Office Depot whether their rewards will be honored, whether ordered products will arrive on time and whether office supplies in their area will be readily available.

The last line reads,"And remember, when other suppliers are closing their doors we're here to stay."

Ick, poo! That was sleazy!

Memo to Staples:

- You know how the American public made it clear in the last election that they are sick to death of negative campaigning. Ditto for negative advertising. If you can't compel people to your way based on your own positives, then find a new line of work.

- A lot of companies (and their employees and investors) are hurting right now. Office Depot is one of them. Don't kick people when they are down. It's just poor sportsmanship. You may intimidate a few extra people to shop at your stores, but at what price to your public image? Is this really the image you want to have?

- Your claims are not even fair. Who said anything about Office Depot rewards not being honored or products not being available or delivered on time? I think the 1000 other chain outlets will manage just fine.

There's a cautionary tale here for companies that send out e-newsletters. Newsletters by e-mail can be cranked out really fast. Maybe too fast. Production may be reduced to a quick-as-a-flash, but companies still need to take the time to edit and vet their content before hitting the send button.

In other words, not so fast with the Easy button.