03 February 2009

Getting Rid of Junk Mail

A couple of years ago, I signed up to opt out of junk mail. You can do that through the Direct Marketing Association.

Unfortunately, this didn't actually have much of an effect on the amount of stuff I was getting in the mail, because it didn't stop the companies from whom I had ever ordered something by phone or on line from sending me catalogue after catalogue --or from selling (or as they call it, "renting") my name and address to other companies.

So a few months ago, I started collecting catalogues, and then I sat down one afternoon and made a bunch of phone calls. I requested that each company:

1. take me off their mailing list
2. take my information off their rent/sell/trade list

This has had a huge impact. The catalogues and their friends and their cousins have vanished from my mailbox, significantly reducing the amount of paper I throw in the recycling bin at the end of the week. It also means that I don't leaf through catalogues discovering things I "need" to buy.

Unfortunately, now what I get in my mail is mostly bills. And they're mostly from the health insurance company, billing me repeatedly for things that they are supposed to cover but have rejected, due to some combination of errors made by someone in the doctor's office or at the insurance company. If I made that many mistakes, I'd lose my job ... but that's a topic for another day.