I spent the better part of a recent morning unsubscribing from email newsletters. I don’t understand how, when, or why we ended up being on the receiving end of so much electronic blah-blah. An even greater mystery is how so many ultra-conservative and ultra-liberal organizations have us on their lists when, politically speaking, we’re so almost completely in the middle. I’ve tried all the gentler options–the junk mail, ignore, and block sender designations–and am now waging a take-no-prisoners unsubscribe war. The battle plan isn’t working as well as I would like, and I suspect I have a traitor in my midst who is resubscribing just as quickly as I am unsubscribing. I’ll have to talk to the Goat about that, but he’ll probably just give up his name, rank, and IP address.
At least I’ve won the paper catalog battle although a minor skirmish tends to break out now and then, especially around the holidays. There was a time when our mailbox yielded up at least six catalogs every day, and most of them were from businesses we’d never ordered from (except maybe once, ten years earlier), had no intention of ordering from, or didn’t even know existed. We had trouble locating the bills buried in the stacks of catalogs. Our mail carrier grew to hate us, and the recycle people tried to hide to when they saw us coming.
Then somehow (unsolicited email, maybe?) I learned about a no-risk, no-committment miracle mailbox diet program. That’s not what it’s really called, but that’s what it is. Catalog Choice (catalogchoice.org) is the “nation’s largest free service to stop unwanted mail.” Using it is simple. You log onto their website, set up your information (you can enter multiple names and addresses) and search for the offending companies. Then Catalog Choice contacts the offenders and tells them to remove you from their mailing lists. It’s a bit easier if you have the source, key, and customer numbers printed on the mailing label, but Catalog Choice works its magic even if you don’t have that information. And it’s all free, remember?
Besides getting a skinnier mailbox, you also get to see the overall environmental impact the organization has made, as well as your personal contribution. According to Catalog Choice’s calculations, to date I have saved 4 fully grown trees, 1,568 pounds of greenhouse gas, 556 pounds of solid waste, and 3,775 gallons of water. That makes this hippie, dippy, gypsy girl feel good.
The only problem is now we can find all the bills.