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.