Junk Mail

Eric Renderking Fisk | October 4th, 2003

In today's world, less is suddenly more. We were once a nation of plenty. Plenty wasn’t enough though, now we’re a world of excess. Coming from a conservative, libertairan or a graphic designer, things must have become out of hand for me to say that. We’re burring up resources faster then anyone could imagine in the ever lasting pursuit- not of not improving lives or expanding the collective knowledge of the human race- but to grab more of what the other guy has. Or keeping up with "The Jones'"- and not The Jones Family you're thinking of.

These resources I’m talking about are those paper products being used to generate the all obtrusive unsolicited business opportunity or services, otherwise known as Junk Mail. By far the worst is the direct mail marketing. Through out the world we’re the losing the forests I was hoping would be around for my son to enjoy just as my father and grandfather hoped they would be around for me. These trees are cut down and processed into pulp because some company has to send out the same “Grand-Slam Super Sale” trash advertisements over and over again each week. Someone is always looking to sell something we really don’t want or need and using our own mailbox to do it. With out my permission. I consider that "trespassing."

Two items in particular set me off. The first one isn’t so bad; it’s for a cause I believe in- ironically it’s from The Nature Conservatory. Included in the envelope are personalized labels and the promise of a free gift of a tote bag with any donation over 10 bucks. Do me a favor, guys… keep the dam’n tote bag and put more of the money towards the cause, please? Buy a few extra square feet of conservation land with the money it would cost you to send me that bag! The postage alone could buy me a tree.

Does it strike anyone as this being ironic that an organization that’s out to conserve the wild kingdoms is using the same mode of harassment that the large industries use? Do they really need three pieces of paper and color ink to get their point across that the environment is in trouble?

By far the worst of these is the second piece of junk mail is nothing more then a postcard. On the back there’s a handsome photograph of keys and opened mail (not any junk mail… heck no) sitting on a mantle with the words in duck-eggs blue reading “Just Sold”. On the front is my address hand written and on the opposite side of the stamp is a picture of a somewhat attractive woman real-estate agent from the same agency where my wife and I bought this house through. Below her picture is the handsome yet modest house on the corner of Hunt Hill Rd and Middle Winchendon that just sold for “A modest bundle of cash”.

How do I know that house went for “A modest bundle of cash”? It’s right on the postcard for the entire world to see. Right under “Lois’s” (Names have been changed to protect this site from slander suits and to protect the nefarious) smiling face as if to say- “See what a great job we do… and we can get this kind of dough for you, too.” Granted, the price of the house is public knowledge, it’s for me to find if I know where to look (Next to the classifieds in the Legal section of the local newspaper or at the town clerks office.) But that’s not the point.

Friends usually ask me, “Can I ask you a personal question about how much you paid for your home” before they actually ASK because it’s common courtesy. It’s really nobody’s business how much some one paid for something as personal as a home unless the owner makes it someone’s business. But now, the neighbors know without the new owner’s consent. Somehow this strikes me (and the new owner after I spoke to her about this very issue) as obtrusive. I know full well that a few weeks after my wife and I moved into this house everyone else in town received a similar postcard with a picture of our property: ‘“A slightly less then a modest bundle of cash” for this three bedroom house, on two and a half acres, two and a half baths, and a studio office that will someday be renounced for being the origin of all those long silly rants from Renderking’.

People complain about privacy, the government and industry knows too much about then already, yet not a word is mentioned about the violations that happen everyday in our mailboxes. High on the list of greatest violations of privacy is the intrusive junk mail. Nobody ever asks for it directly and the arrogant assumption that these marketers can trespass on our property this way is some how essential to their first amendment rights boarders on criminally insane... These are the same idiots who insist they’re doing society a service by subsidizing the postal service. Little do they tell you that they also subsidize the landfills and the public-works incinerators while contributing to global warming and other pollution nonsense.

Next time you go to the mail box looking for an item you’re waiting for, whether it’s a prop replica from one of our favorite vendors, important forms and applications for your new mortgage, certificates or tax returns from the government, or anything else that’s supposed to arrive via the U.S. Postal Service, ask your self what it’s late. Better yet… check with the Post office to see if it wasn’t lost in the mountains of Junk Mail they have to sort through.