Helpful Hints No 3

How To Deal With Junk Mail

July 23rd

I caught up with my junk mail return service today.

I suppose I should be used to it by now but it still never ceases to amaze me just how much of this unwanted garbage lands on my hall floor; it’s only four weeks since I last dealt with it and there must be fifty letters at least. When you take that over a year, and add to it the supermarket flyers, carpet cleaning offers, Wicks catalogues, freebie newspapers and sundry other bumf that infiltrates my letter box it amounts to a lot of paper. Maybe not requiring raw material of rainforest dimensions, as some might exaggerate, but certainly a decent-sized copse.

At first I used to content myself with merely dropping my junk mail in the waste bin. Later I took to opening it, discarding the contents, sealing up the pre-paid reply envelope found inside, and posting it back to from whence it came. This of course meant that the companies who send me the junk mail end up paying the postage on the letter whilst have nothing to show for it, and of course causing the pendulum to swing my way a little.

Recently I refined the service, causing the pendulum to swing even farther in my direction. What I do now is open two junk mail letters at a time, take out the contents, put the contents of letter ‘A’ into the pre-paid reply envelope from letter ‘B’, and vice versa, then send them back. I’ve no idea as to the reaction of the person at the other end who opens them. Probably apathy. But then I don’t care.

A refinement of the above idea, which I have done quite a few times, is to actually fill in the order forms of two junk mail offers and return them in the wrong envelopes. Except for my credit card details, which I falsify just in case, I fill them in absolutely correctly, age, address, where to leave the parcel if I am out etc. For example the other week I received in the same post a plant catalogue and the offer of the latest in deaf aids. I ordered four dozen daffodil bulbs from the deaf aid people and two deaf aids from the plant catalogue people. I have yet to receive a reply from either of them.

Now you might think that a plant catalogue firm, having received an order for two deaf aids, would pass the letter on to the deaf aid people, but you would be wrong. Apparently plant catalogue companies are only interested in selling plants; you could be as deaf as a post for all they care as long as you buy a hundred onion sets or a bag of early cropping seed potatoes.

Similarly you might suppose that the deaf aid company, having wrongly received an order for four dozen daffodil bulbs, would see to it that it reached its correct destination. After all there is a good chance that the man who sent the order is deaf, so you wouldn’t expect them to knowingly withhold from him the joy of seeing his daffodils blossom come spring, even if he wouldn’t be able to hear them rustle in the breeze. Especially as he wouldn’t be able to hear them rustle in the breeze. But again, no.

And it isn’t just the plant catalogue and deaf aid companies who are so cold and uncaring. Since I started doing it I must have sent at least a couple of dozen orders to the wrong address and I have yet to hear so much as a whisper from any of them. Seemingly there is zero liaison between companies, who are apparently only interested in selling their own goods. Well cut my legs off and call me Shorty!

I have yet to meet the person who likes receiving junk mail, so with this in mind here’s a thought – why doesn’t everyone take a leaf out of my book and do as I do. It takes little effort, and there’s no need to go to the trouble of swapping over the contents of the envelopes, just send the empty pre-paid envelope back. If everyone were to do this there would be no more junk mail after about three months.



  1. … or you could, of course, use the Mail Preference Service (, and the Telephone Preference Service ( – neither of which are as much fun, but thay are effective.

    Comment by Graham — July 24, 2006 @ 2:38 am

  2. i have, on occasion, used the method of returning it to sender, but i am going to start using your re-re-revised method, and post orders for non relevant stuff!
    pure genius!

    Comment by the cappuccino kid — July 24, 2006 @ 3:06 am

  3. This sounds like fun. I’ll be giving it a go too.

    Comment by helena — July 24, 2006 @ 6:07 am

  4. Little Caz has been doing this for yonks. It works. No junk mail from the same places anyroad.

    Comment by Four Dinners — July 24, 2006 @ 1:01 pm

  5. You ok Raz? A bit quiet for you lately. If yer check out Cind on me blog links yer’ll see something that will upset Atkins. Someone’s producing blow up men to put in cars driven by single women. Sorry Atkins.

    Comment by Four Dinners — July 31, 2006 @ 9:49 am

  6. Me and a mate are in the Sod Off Society. We scrawl Sod Off all over everything and send it back in the envelopes.
    I like your idea better though TR.

    Comment by Birdy — August 1, 2006 @ 5:48 am

  7. Raz?

    Comment by Four Dinners — August 3, 2006 @ 7:22 am

  8. glad everythings ok, thought you’d been buried under a pile of junk mail!

    Comment by helena — August 7, 2006 @ 7:22 pm

  9. Wheew! pc sick for a week, came back n still nowt. Glad yer ok. Look forward to the books. I’ll look out for them.

    Comment by Four Dinners — August 10, 2006 @ 8:53 am

  10. Glad you are O.K. I thought you had gone a bit quiet.

    Comment by Ruth — August 11, 2006 @ 1:23 pm

  11. like dinners has said, i have been away for two weeks and you haven’t written anything. scared me. glad you are ok. later.

    Comment by the cappuccino kid — August 12, 2006 @ 5:29 am

  12. you still ok? hope so, they haven’t found the dog have they?

    Comment by the cappuccino kid — August 17, 2006 @ 12:21 am

  13. why not let atkins take over again for a while? i want to know if they ever finished painting his skirting boards!
    come back soon, we need your genius whit.

    Comment by the cappuccino kid — August 17, 2006 @ 12:23 am

  14. come on razza, where you at?

    Comment by the cappuccino kid — August 29, 2006 @ 5:04 am

  15. After 3…1, 2, 3

    We want Razza, We want Razza

    You sure yer ok mate?

    Comment by Four Dinners — August 30, 2006 @ 7:40 am

  16. earth to razza, earth to razza.
    yes or no? worried.

    Comment by the cappuccino kid — September 8, 2006 @ 12:46 am

  17. okay, joking over, now i am REALLY CONCERNED!
    please, anybody, is razza ok?

    Comment by the cappuccino kid — September 18, 2006 @ 1:15 am

  18. when will you be back mr ravenscroft?
    i check here daily, but to no avail.
    hoping all is well.
    a big fan.

    Comment by the cappuccino kid — November 6, 2006 @ 5:19 am

  19. right, it’s a month tomorrow since i left that last message! what is going on in terry land? you have to at least let us know if the nieghbours from hell are still there, if atkins little job with the dog has been found out, and if you finally got your skirting boards painted!!!

    Comment by the cappuccino kid — December 5, 2006 @ 12:40 am

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