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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Junk Mail ReDistribution.

I hate junk mail, and I get tonnes of it. It seems I can sign up to as many don't send me any junk mail databases, and it just keeps on coming.

In particular, I hate:
1. the massive waste of paper it entails
2. the fact that so many of them are offering me freedom from debt if I would only take out extra debt with them
3. the fact that most of the credit card / loan stuff is even more entirely unethical than most credit card / loans are unethical, in that they are often directly marketed to people who cannot afford it
4. the fact that it just arrives on my doormat and I am obliged to deal with it.

At some point, a year or so ago, when I was feeling particularly annoyed about another trash bag full of mainly junk mail, I thought up a system which I have now honed and perfected. I call it Junk Mail Redistribution, and it goes something like this...

1. I open up an item of junk mail which offers me the world and (crucially) encloses a pre-paid envelope for me to send off my money in. It is, say, a credit card deal from company A.

2. I then open up the next item of junk mail which is company B offering me a loan. It also (crucially) contains a pre-paid envelope.

3. I open up the third item of mail - a plea for funds from a charity.

4. I finally open up the fourth item of junk, which turns out to be a guarantee that I have won at least £100 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 on an obscure lottery that I have never heard of, never mind played, if only I will send them £30. Oh look, another pre-paid envelope.

5. I also grab the pile of flyers which came in the last magazine I bought.

And then the fun starts. I figure that company A will want to be made aware of the competitive (if you are mad) rates of company B's loans, so (while removing any identifying features from letters) I put company B's bumph into company A's envelope.

At this stage you can seal it and send it back, but it is more fun to add some of the magazine's flyers (while making sure to remove any... you guessed it... prepaid envelopes or forms within!).

If you are also feeling sympathetic towards the begging charity then I often think it is only fair to send company A's post-opening-assistant one of their leaflets too.

Then you can happily seal company A's envelope, full of all of the above, and stick it in the post, safe in the knowledge that they will have junk mail to deal with, they are paying the postage for it, and you have less to fill up your rubbish bags.

However at this stage you still have all of the info on the amazing credit card deal from company A, which can happily go in company B's freepost envelope, along with any extra charity / lottery junk / scratchcards (to win a tenth of a cruise for 3/8 of a person as long as they pay £8500 towards the insurance) / random bits of anything, ready to be posted - at their expense - back to them.

So, I think you're maybe getting the gist.

I think the lottery people would be glad to receive more charity leaflets, as they are so rich after all, and I did once inform the psychics who so regularly write to me that, being psychic and all, they will know that I can't afford to send them money for a reading, nor do I want one, and if they really do know the lottery numbers then they won't need my dosh anyway.

And of course, any amount of embellishment or creativity on the envelopes / contents / free reply coupons, can only be encouraged. There is the rant on the envelope technique, or the request to the company receiving the stuff to recycle it, or anything that suits really.

I like doing it this way. I don't have access to doorstep recycling collections, and these companies are a lot more likely to, so they surely have a responsibility to recycle the stuff I so nicely request them to.

Also, they send out junk - they should certainly know how it feels to receive it all, whether relevant or (usually) not.

And more still, it must cost direct marketing people £millions to post this stuff out. I figure if it costs them even more to get other people's junk back, they may actually begin to question the logic of the whole process.

And finally, they're bastards and it's all bad! The minor but satisfying feeling of revenge as I stick a few pre-paid envelopes chock-full of their competition's promotional shit really quite makes it all worthwhile :)

So yeah, junk mail redistribution is rewarding, fun, somewhat naughty, and fully deserved.

Or at least that's my view ;)


Garry Nixon said...

Good for you. Been doing that for years - doubt it makes a diddly of difference but it makes me feel better.

My big problem now is junk phone calls... :-<