What if I told you there was a program where strangers pay an army of men to make daily deliveries of trash to your house? Where do I sign up, right? There’s no need. As a citizen of America, you are automatically enrolled! Every day except Sunday a person in uniform will drive by in a funny right-hand drive jeep from the 1960s and drop off a bundle of paper. You don’t even have to be home to receive this bounty of junk!
It’s not all junk, right? Sure there are occasional gems, like birthday cards, but after a chuckle, you toss those as well (sorry Mom).
Many bills also arrive by mail. I don’t understand why the water company thinks mail is the default form of communication in the 21st century. The internet has been around for nearly 30 years. Surely, the kinks have been worked out.
Okay, this program sounds great and all, but I have enough trash. How do I opt-out? Can I just stop by the post office and tell them, “I want out” as Kramer did in an episode of Seinfeld? Sorry, it’s not that easy. The post office is required by law to continue mail delivery.
Junk mail seems relentless and unending. How did this get so out of hand? The problem is, sending a letter is so cheap. Seinfeld has a great bit where he describes the Post Master General giving a press conference about raising the price of a stamp two cents. Sweat pours from his face as he reluctantly breaks the news that the price of a stamp will go from 47 to 49 cents. If there was a press conference every time the price of eggs went up two cents, nobody would care.
My solution? Increase the price to $10 per letter. Companies will be a little more selective with their direct-mail marketing campaigns and more Moms will email those birthday cards.
While you’re holding your breath for stamp prices to increase by 1700%, there are more immediate actions you can take:
- Opt-out of credit card offers using OptOutPrescreen.com. This online form takes a few seconds to submit and lasts 5 years. Want to put the kibosh on these offers permanently? Find someone who still has a printer, print the form, sign, and mail it in.
- Stop many larger direct marketers using DMA Choice. They charge $2.
- Use a service like PaperKarma or CatalogChoice to end most other mailings.
- Sign up for a virtual mailbox service like physicaladdress.com. They scan your mail, upload the images, and shred the junk.