Do you regularly get a load of junk mail? If so, it might just be your own fault.
There seems to be three kinds of junk.
- leaflets from local marketing, like pizza leaflets/Chinese takeaway menus/local garage adverts etc that occasionally get shoved through the letterbox. Less so these days, I’m happy to say.
- stuff that companies send you after you’ve purchased something from their website. Once a company has your address, you can be driven demented by months of unwanted catalogues trying to persuade you to buy more socks or another set of drill bits…
- those awful packs of gubbins wrapped in plastic that fall out of the weekend newspapers. You know, the kind that advertise things you never knew you needed, like heated knickers for the hard of hearing, or electric hoes for unwanted beard growth.
The first is easy to stop. A notice saying ‘NO JUNK MAIL’ on the front door works wonders. The second is easy to stop, but it requires you to Do Something About It. The third I’ve got an idea about. Press on, dear reader, it’s at the end.
But really, it is all shit that NOBODY needs. Whole forests are sacrificed for it, it frequently arrives in plastic envelopes, and I hope by now you know how I feel about superfluous plastics.
Most people don’t read their junk mail, according to my research (which, er, involved asking a few people I know… très scientifique, non?) They chuck it in the recycling or, worse, in the bin where it goes to landfill. Landfill, the scourge of our age.
Whilst it isn’t our fault if companies send us their advertising material the minute they find out where we live, it is up to us to do what we can to make them stop sending us their wretched and unwanted blurb.
Basically, if we keep getting the same stuff month after month, year after year, we have only ourselves to blame.
So do NOT throw those catalogues out. Here’s how to stop junk mail. It’s the tried and trusted Keane method.
Purchase a nice fat marker pen. Any bright colour is good. Then write the following words on the envelope:
RETURN TO SENDER.
NOT KNOWN AT THIS ADDRESS.
PLEASE DELETE FROM RECORDS.
Then pop it in the post box. It might not work the first time, but repeat your action and the stream of unwanted mail will eventually dry up. It’s the equivalent of unsubscribing.
It’s always worked for me. I once moved into a new house in London and I counted 33 names receiving post at my address. 33!!! Great piles of mail daily plonked onto the mat. Catalogues, mainly. One by one, I wrote the above instructions on the envelopes and posted them back. A year later, the problem was gone.
One company, however, was particularly persistent and clearly didn’t take any notice of politely worded instructions. So, in addition to the above instructions, I stuck a large white label on the back of the plastic sheath and wrote the following in bright red marker pen:
“I DO NOT WANT THIS SHITE COMING THROUGH MY LETTER BOX.
WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GET THE MESSAGE?”
They stopped sending after that.
(Feel free to substitute the word “garbage” for “shite”. Not everyone loves my Portsmouth/Dublin lexicon.)
I now even send back catalogues I would enjoy (in other words, flowers, bulbs, seeds) unopened. Well, most of them. I confess to drooling over the Sarah Raven catalogues. No-one can be perfect all the time. But there really is no excuse for companies sending out endless hard copy when virtually everything these days is online. I mark them ‘return to sender’ on the front, and on the back I write (in green, of course!):
PLEASE STOP SENDING HARD COPY. I’M ALREADY A CUSTOMER – LET’S START THINKING ABOUT THE PLANET.
Back to that newspaper junk…
I’ve had an idea about a cheap way to protest. I’m going to buy 100 x 1p stamps, and I’m going to post those bundles back to the newspaper. They’ll have to pay the excess. I shall write the following on the back:
And if LOTS of us start doing that, it might make a difference. Anyone fancy trying it with me?
I very much hope everyone out there is staying safe, and that you aren’t suffering too much from the effects of Covid. For myself, I have no idea when we’ll get back into the theatres again, it’s looking pretty dire for my industry. But I keep busy (distraction is vital for sanity!) and will be posting more regularly again now that life is cautiously returning to something resembling what we once knew.
And before I go, here’s a picture of my darling little dog, Piper, after an exciting roll in the hay.