VICTORY! Steve: 1 Junk Mail: 0


I really dislike receiving mail. And I really dislike receiving junk mail. And when you have several addresses like I do, you receive a ton of junk mail. I receive the same crappy "shopper stopper" coupon booklet at four (4) different addresses... talk about a waste of resources, time, effort, and money.

When I voice my displeasure for all of the junk mail, most people offer this awesome suggestion: "Just recycle it - don't even open it, just put it in the recycling bin!"


And how does that help anything? Recycling isn't an environmentally neutral effort - a big truck picks-up your recycling, carts it to a sorting facility, big machines run long conveyor belt sorting lines, and then any number of things happens to the materials... some of it ends-up in landfills, some of it is burned or chemically treated, and so on...

But worst of all, it reinforces the undesired junk mail behavior. I'd rather not receive the junk mail in the first place, but if no one returns or rejects it back to the sender, the sender assumes the delivery was "successful," and thus you're included as part of a metric that the junk mail companies use when pitching their new customers. And the junk mail circle of life repeats and grows.

So... I've tried a bunch of things to limit the amount of junk mail I receive. I've opted-out of every credit card/insurance list I could. I've called every catalog company that sends me a crummy catalog and asked that they stop sending them. I've registered online to be part of a "do not mass market" list. I've paid a service to actively remove me from mailing lists. I've called the telephone companies that send me 2-3 phone books at each of my mailing addresses and requested they stop sending the phone books (I don't even own a landline).

But, despite these efforts, I continue to receive more than a ton of junk mail. It's so frustrating. Any important piece of mail that I "need" to receive, I receive electronically or at my post office box. I'd love nothing more than to completely abolish snail mail, but alas, it is a necessary evil.

So when I moved to the new house, I absolutely dreaded the notion of having yet another junk mail receptacle to check on.

And truth be told, I actually forgot to check the new mailbox for a while, and I thought all was well. Until one day, while changing the oil in my lawn mower, I heard a vehicle pull near my driveway and park.

"Hey, how about you check your mailbox and get the mail out of it?" said the voice.

I looked over and saw the familiar milk-carton on wheels that is the lovely USPS delivery truck. I sighed.

"Oh, hey, yeah - sorry about that. I have several addresses and I don't have anything of value sent here, so I really forget that I have to check it."

USPS driver: "Ok, but, you really need to check your mail. If the box fills-up, I can't deliver any mail to you."

Eureka! This was my "win," so I took advantage of the opportunity.

Me: "Oh, well, that would be great! I'll just let the box fill-up and then I won't get any junk mail?"

USPS driver: "It's not junk mail. You really have to empty out your mailbox or I can't deliver any mail to you."

Me: "But it is all junk mail. If there's any mail in there, I guarantee it's all junk because any real mail is sent to my other addresses. So, I'll just let it fill-up until you can't deliver any mail."

USPS driver: "It's not all junk mail. I know there is some first class mail in there."

Me: "I'll bet you $20 there's no real mail in there."

USPS driver: "Just check your mail so that I can keep delivering your mail, ok?"

Me: "Can I just take down my mailbox? Do I have to receive mail?"

USPS driver: "What? Well, no, you - it's not required that you have a mailbox, but - wah - why don't you just take your mail?"

Me: "It's of no value. So, I'll tell you what - I'll take down the mailbox and we'll call it good."

He mumbled something about talking to a supervisor and filling out some form, and then puttered off in his milk carton. I went out and checked the mail, and sure enough - it was all junk. Catalogs, shopper stoppers, marketing offers from the local cable companies, and a bevy of Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons addressed to "Current Resident".

So, I left them all in there and went about my life.

I encountered the mailman again about two weeks ago, and he "instructed" me to empty the mailbox. I reminded him that I didn't have any real mail in there, and that I saw no need to tend to it. He said, "I'm going to have to stop delivering mail if you don't empty the box, and then I'll have to return it to the sender and tell them your address is undeliverable."

The good news kept on coming! This was a perfect win! So, guess what I decided to do?

That's right - absolutely nothing. I let the junk mail keep accumulating in that box.

And today, while I was mowing the lawn, I decided to check the mailbox. I figured it would be bulging with junk mail. Imagine my surprise when I discovered it empty, save for one piece of paper:


Ahh, the sweet smell of victory. Take that, junk mail pushers.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steve published on September 12, 2011 6:54 PM.

Lots 'o Updates: Party, Pearl Jam, and AR was the previous entry in this blog.

A total mash-up; random things is the next entry in this blog.

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