Tom Durkin multimedia writer-editor-photographer
© Tom Durkin 1998-2018

Save your local post office

The other day, faced with yet another piece of junk mail, I decided to return the favor. I took a portion of the insurance offer that did not identify me, stuffed it in their first-class, postage-paid envelope and sent it back them. Upon their annoying piece of paper, I wrote, “Doing my best to keep the post office in business and waste your money.” Not so ironically, the useless chunk of mail I sent back to them had an advisory notice of a phone number to call and a website that would allow me to stop them from sending me their crap. It turned out the website was nothing but links to various organizations and companies that can (or claim they can) stop assorted sources of junk mail (including email) – for a fee. We’re not talking a one-stop solution here. It’s not like the free, national Do Not Call Registry  to stop telemarketers. You have to pay each of them for their “service.” The fees range from $1 to $20 or more. It’s not so much the money as it is the principle of the thing. I shouldn’t have to pay to stop postal harassment. If you want to spend the time, money and hassle to stop junk postal mail, the “Today Show” has an article and video that explains how to do it – without being scammed in the process. The video/article does offer a free opt-out phone number – if you’re willing to cough up your Social Security number. If you want to save the planet, this would be a good thing to do. It’s not just about saving trees. It’s also about not using the supplies, electricity and fuel involved in manufacturing, processing and transporting stuff meant to feed our consumer addiction – and line their pockets. On the other hand, I like the Post Office. Junk mail is a major source of revenue for the USPS, and mailing junk mail back to the junkers, at first-class rates, only adds to USPS’s cash flow. Besides, many jobs are at stake if we kill off junk mail – everybody from advertising copywriters to lumberjacks to printers to postal workers and more. It’s your call: save the planet or subvert the dominant paradigm. All I’m really asking is please recycle what you don’t send back. Tom Durkin - 8/21/13
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