Infinity – Junk Mail Is Thy NamePosted: May 19, 2014
I’ve been thinking I need a recycler under my mailbox.
I could take a paper shredder, use drawer sliders to attach it to the top of a big plastic container, cut a big hole in the bottom of my mailbox, and screw in the whole shredder/container contraption to the mailbox. That way, when the mail person delivers the mail, it drops into the shredder and all I have to do is slide the container out and empty it once a week.
It would save me a lot of time and trouble.
Back when I first got married, 20 (ahem) or so years ago, it was during the peak, trendy period of hyphenating your paternal name with your husband’s. So I went from Deborah Groshans to Deborah Groshans-Marcussen.
Oh, trouble… if only I had known the chaos that would ensue!
Forget the (somewhat) tender feelings I tread on when I did this. In both my family and my husband’s:
Mom: Debbie Jean! That’s ridiculous. I am NOT going to explain your name to every person we know. Pick one or the other! Sometimes I think you have a hole in your head.
Mom-In-Law: “Hmph”. (Less wordy, but same mother-type message).
Forget the confusion that resulted when I could never remember which name I had used:
Veterinarian: “I’m sorry the state says your dog hasn’t been vaccinated, and our records don’t show we ever gave your dog a rabies shot.”
Me: “Yes, he has. Try looking under my other name.”
Veterinarian: “Hmmm. No, still no records.”
Me: “Try this combination….”
Veterinarian: “No, that didn’t work either. Any other name we could try?”
No, the real problem with hyphenating your name is in the increased junk mail. I end up on the same junk mail lists but with different names.
- Mail in only my maiden name.
- Mail addressed to me using my husband’s surname.
- Mail using every combination of the two names you can imagine.
- Groshans-Marc (keep adding letters as computer field lengths have increased)
Really, the combinations are too many to list here. You get the idea.
Then, of course, there’s junk mail in just my husband’s name… and let’s not forget the mailing lists that use your nickname, full name, middle initial, and misspelled versions!
Catalogs are the worst. Some of those catalogs come twice a week, under several different names. I mean, how many copies of the same catalog do you need?
I’ve tried sending back junk mail with a request to remove me from their mailing list. When I get up to the fourth request, I usually throw the word “harassment” into my message. That word seems to help more than “Please”.
Still, it’s an uphill battle to send “remove” requests, because:
- the location that sends the mail is usually outsourced from the company,
- they’ve gotten smarter over the years and now you have to pay return postage more often than not. They know you want to send it all back. (I’ll only put my stamp on a “remove” request for the worst offenders).
If there is a return envelope provided with “no postage required”, then it for sure goes back to them. NOT just with the tear off reply form either, but with every piece of their mailing I can fit in that envelope.
Let them pay the extra postage cost.
Sneaky as they are, many of those tear off forms are all that fit in the “no postage required” envelope. The additional filler they send you does not. It’s always conveniently just a smidgen too wide.
But hey, I’m nothing if not persistent. I trim the edges with my scissors and make them fit. Including all the hundreds of “free” personalized mailing labels I get.
I don’t need 1,000 return address stickers. I don’t care if they are free.
This is my tactic, and I faithfully do it, year after year on – what seems like – a daily basis. I will even call the catalogs and tell them I’m not 4 people – and I have to say it has all helped. Somewhat. Until the next month, when one of my “aliases” has gotten on some new mailing list.
I don’t even want to think about how many trees have died for me!
I really have no clue if it’s still the “in” thing to hyphenate your name now, when you marry. If it is – New Brides: Wait! Listen to the words of my mother! (Whom I’m sure is sitting up in heaven laughing at her foolish offspring).
The name you take, and all its versions, will be with you as long as you live. If you have children, they will likely bear the brunt of your actions as well.
And beyond…. especially now, when computers are programmed to listen to background noise when you answer the phone, track your preferences from multiple sources, and generate “personalized” mail automatically.
They really don’t care who receives the ads.
All the versions of your names will be generated and mailed somewhere for eternity.
All without any human intervention whatsoever.
Take heed… I’ve seen the future.
Infinity – Junk Mail is thy name.