Western Union offers singing telegrams with an electronic twist

Here and Now

Odds are you have never received a singing telegram.

But that may change. Western Union, the telegram and global payments company, is bringing back its singing telegrams. Western Union pulled the plug on its singing telegrams in 2006, to focus on the payments element of its business. But late last year, they brought them back with a twist.

Via a website, Western Union lets you send a singing telegram via email. And, instead of having a Western Union employee deliver the message, the sender and celebrity singers combine to put together a track that can be emailed to the recipient.

“We’re bringing them back in a virtual and social way, in tune with the times,” Diane Scott, executive vice president of Western Union in Englewood, Colo., told The New York Times.

Western Union says it will eventually begin charging for the service, but for now it’s free.

Pat Vialpando, who used to deliver singing telegrams the old fashioned way, said the old service was one of the most terrifying things he ever had to do, walk up to some stranger’s door and start singing.

“I went to the door, my knees were shaking more than my knock,” Vialpando said. “I was scared to death.”

Vialpando said people seemed to appreciate the service though. And he thinks retirees and even current Western Union employees will be “tickled” by the new online service.

“I think that’s a great idea,” he said.

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