Thursday, June 15, 2006

Junk Mail Rant

Junk mail is one of the largest wastes on our planet, I think. It wastes ink and paper. It wastes money on postage. It wastes mail carrier time to sort and deliver it. It costs more gas to haul it around while delivering it. It uses electricity when I have to shred the parts with our name and address on it. It wastes my time to stand at the shredder either every day for a minute or two, or once a week for 10 minutes. I despise junk mail.

Last night, before going to bed, I stood at our kitchen counter and sorted the mail. We hadn't gone through it since Saturday, so we had a stack about six inches thick that had piled up on the kitchen counter. M wasn't quite ready for bed yet, and I already had Zozo's stuff ready to go for this morning, so I thought, "Well, I'll just bang out the mail and be done with it." I was amazed, as I usually am.

Out of the six inches of mail, we kept approximately five and a half sheets of paper and two relatively thin magazines that both stacked up to about a quarter of an inch. The rest went to the shredder or out to our paper recycle bin.

That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. No, I don't want to change my mortgage to you, so I can pay through the nose for closing costs. No, I don't want your "hassle-free" credit card, so quit hassling me. No, I don't want to earn 25,000 frequent flier miles that I can only use in months that have 28 days and only if I fly between the days of Tuesday and Thursday during the fourth week of the month just by signing up for your $250/year card. No, I don't want to attend your "by invitation only" sales event because you ordered too many dang SUVs this spring. I don't want the weekly circular that would send me to eight different stores to save 26 cents on nine items (although we know someone who does do that!). I don't need your lawn services, nor do I require any new furniture, even if you are liquidating. And my asphalt driveway is beyond needing to be sealed...the stupid thing needs to be completely ripped up and replaced but we're not going to do that right now, thank you very much. When I'm ready, I'm gonna Google "St. Louis Missouri asphalt company" and see what comes up.

I read somewhere that you can "get back" at the credit card companies by shredding their documents, placing them back in the postage paid envelope, and sticking them back in the mail. That way they have to pay postage twice for nothing. It's a tempting thought, but I don't have the time, and judging by my past luck, an enterprising young intern at the credit card company would probably take it upon himself to piece back together the shred strips and issue me a new credit card.

M heard a story about a young man who received a credit card application, filled it out with a whole bunch of incorrect information, including crossing through his correct address and changing it to his folks' place, and mailed it back in. Within days a credit card was issued, in his name, to the incorrect address, no questions asked. Now that is some scary shit.

So, today's public service offering to you, dear readers, is a link to information on how to remove your name/address from tons of direct mail lists. The organization is the Direct Marketing Association, and they offer two options: using snail mail (ironic, huh?) for free, or completing their on-line form and paying a $5 processing fee.

I recommend the stamp option. After all, once the mail carrier drops off your 12 pounds of junk mail each day, what does she/he have to carry back to the post office?


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