Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Freedom From Junk Mail Day

I'm declaring a new holiday: Freedom From Junk Mail Day.

It would be better if EVERY day was Freedom From Junk Mail Day, but I'll settle for one day a year.

A few years ago, I went on a rampage and got most of the junk mail stopped. At the time, I lived in a multi-family house, and instead of getting three copies of all the junk addressed to "occupant," I was getting four (or more) copies. I researched and studied and read the fine print, and contacted all the senders of the envelopes of coupons that I never used and the newspaper inserts that I never read and the catalogues I'd never requested, and all the other junk. It wasn't easy to get them to stop; one customer service representative was convinced that I was violating someone's constitutional rights to freedom of the press by asking that they not send me their free (and not worth the price) newspaper.

Actually, the most difficult thing to get stopped was one particular free newspaper that didn't go through the post office, but was tossed onto the lawn by delivery people walking through the neighborhood. Calling and asking them to stop delivering it was a waste of time; it was much cheaper for them to tell the delivery people to delivery everywhere, rather than picking and choosing. You'd think the newspaper would get the message that no one wanted it when a week later, you'd see the soggy, decomposing copies on just about everyone's front lawn (except for the neatniks who picked it up so there wouldn't be any litter in the front yard). I did consider filing a small claims action, seeking to have them pay for removal of the litter, perhaps getting my neighbors to be co-plaintiffs, but they went out of business soon enough.

After I'd gotten most of the junk stopped, I became complacent, and my name ended up on mailing lists, and I just tossed everything, unread, into the recycling bin. A few of the catalogs started coming through with the promise (which they thought was a threat) that it was the last one I would receive. The promise was about as reliable as Rachel's from card services ("this is the last chance for this offer"), and the catalogs kept coming.

Today, I'm doing something about it. I've already called two of the companies whose catalogs were in my recycling bin and had my name taken off their list. There are a couple more, but I need to wait until the next issue so I have the phone number to call.

Soon, I shall be celebrating my new holiday.

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