Wednesday, October 1, 2008
I was reading an article the other day about junk mail, and how it keeps the Post Office afloat. I got to thinking about my own mail -- when was the last time I got a real letter? I got a postcard from my Peace Corps friend Liz two or three weeks ago, and occasionally I get cards, but it’s probably been years since I got a letter. (Or wrote a letter, for that matter.)
In fact, most days I throw away all my mail. All the credit card solicitations, theater company promos, bulk mail fliers, coupons, all that stuff. I tear it up and toss it out. I don’t open any of it. I recycle the catalogs, unread.
I began paying all my bills online when stamps went above 40 cents. I still get Netflix -- that’s probably my principal use of regular mail at this point -- but it won’t be long before we’re all streaming movies over the Internet.
This article mentioned that the government has considered creating a “Do Not Mail” list, similar to the “Do Not Call” list, but those initiatives never get off the ground because they would essentially kill the postal service, not to mention depriving marketers of an allegedly valuable channel.
I’d hate to see the Post Office die completely, but at the same time, I hate the wastefulness of junk mail. There are firms that promise to bring it under control, contacting mailers to remove you from their lists, for a small fee. I’ve thought about doing that. I’ve also heard you can just mark it “return to sender,” but I’m not sure the Post Office really returns bulk mail -- I think they just throw it out.
Anyone have any ideas?
(Photo: Octopus graffiti in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Sept. 2008)