Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Leave me alone! Enough already...

In the 5th episode of Seinfeld in the 9th season, Kramer tries to stop the flow of junk mail. He is especially incensed at all the "Pottery Barn" catalogs. Eventually he goes too far and ends up being threatened by Wilfred Brimley playing the Postmaster General.

I'm amazed at the number of catalogs, credit card offers and yes"Pottery Barn" catalogs and their ilk that we receive weekly. We neither read or order from these, we simply cart them off to the dump for recycling. Presumably they are shredded, processed and reprinted with more exciting "offers".

This useless paper cycle cannot be good for the environment. I cannot imagine how much fuel is consumed delivering this stuff and carting it away for reprocessing. I read that the average family gets approximately 41 pounds a year.

I'm taking some concrete measures to stop this nonsense. Our local paper had a number of web sites devoted to ways to opt out and get off the grid. One surprise was that I had to enter a credit card for the Direct mailing association.

web site: http://www.dmachoice.org/

They gave this as an explanation:

"There is no charge to register for the Mail Preference Service online. Consumers will be asked for a credit card number only to validate their identity and mailing address when registering. The credit card number will be used to authenticate and validate the consumer's identity through a no-charge transaction. As with many credit card verification programs, consumers may see an authorization pending for 3-7 days, and no charge will be issued to the monthly bill."

This seemed a little fishy to me, but I decided to take a chance. The benefit of no more "Antique Restoration" catalogs is just too tempting. I'll monitor this carefully and report back on this posting.

Another free site is http://www.catalogchoice.org/

This site has a search field that allows you to search for catalogs by name. I found Pottery barn in a matter of seconds, Kramer would have been ecstatic.

Finally there is the issue of the unsolicited credit card offers and those "courtesy" checks made out for substantial amounts, guaranteeing years of debt.

The web site is http://www.optoutprescreen.com/
It's free to opt out for 5 years, a charge if you opt out forever ... why would you?

If you need to be part of a movement against junk mail and want to save the planet you can join this organization for dues of $41 for 5 years.

The website is http://www.41pounds.org/

Good luck.
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