It's always urgent


I get a lot of junk mail. Some days the entire postal delivery goes straight to the recycle bin. I don’t always have the time to identify what’s come and that is the source of the pile. I haven’t tried just bagging it over a year and then weighing it. That might be an interesting exercise except that I’d have to hang onto it all that time. According to the website, the average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail per year. My guess would have been somewhere between 50-60. Whatever doesn’t get recycled ends up in the landfill. It’d be nice if it all came on hemp paper printed with soy ink. That way you could take it straight from the mailbox to the compost bin.

It’s nuts.

Junk mail comes disguised as checks, bills, letters and invitations. It’s always an action item. Immediate response required. Urgent. The bottom is going to fall out of the universe if you don’t check yes and send a check. It’s paper spam. Sometimes you get a prize and a company will send you a shiny new penny or a pen or a flashlight with your name and address engraved. When companies are really trying to defraud you they’ll open an account for you, send you their product with an invoice letting you know that you’re subscribed and will be receiving more shipments and bills. If you don’t cancel it and don’t pay, they’ll start harrassing you with collections notices. Sometimes you get a real check. If you cash it, you’re signing up for some service or subscription to products you probably don’t need and on average you’ll end up spending 1,000 times the amount of the check. The invitations are envgraved and some are even hand-addressed but most print your info on the envelope using a faux handwriting typeface inviting you to an investment seminar. When I’m sorting mail I look for bills, checks and anything I am expecting. Everything else gets set aside or tossed. Ten years ago I received an invitation from my employer to an anniversary dinner. They put their P.O. box on the envelope, not their name or logo. I tossed it. I spoke with one of the Human Resources persons and told him it looked like junk mail. I explained that nearly all marketing correspondence comes anonymously and that I’m in the habit of throwing it away unopened. The seminar came around again five years ago but I was expecting the invitation then. People make the same mistakes when sending invitations to graduations or weddings.

Last year I got an invite to a bar/bat mitzvah for a friend’s twins. Everything was fine exept they neglected to put their names on the envelope with the address. I almost tossed it. Their mom told me she was offended. I can’t do anything about that. If you’re serious about having me there, you need to fully address the envelope.


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