By Cory Doctorow at 11:06 pm Fri, Aug 8, 2008
i’ve been saving my junk mail for over a year and want to build a park bench with it.
If you don’t have any use for it, you can always call and ask to be removed from mailing lists. It’s a bit time-consuming at first, and it sometimes takes a couple months for the mail to stop coming once you call, but it’s worked well for me.
My favorite junkmail solution, which provides an immediate and interactive ride within the wheels of karma.
1. extract the “business reply envelope” (BRE)
2. cram contents of junk mail envelope, including envelope, into the prepaid BRE.
3. place in outgoing mail.
not especially crafty. but simple and satisfying.
1. open envelope. extract business reply envelope
2. cram junk mail into the business reply envelope, including the original “junk” envelope.
3. drop in mailbox.
I don’t get any junk mail.
Hooray for not being the primary lease holder :) .
My fave: apparently (somewhere, this may or may not be true in your jurisdiction) there is a rather high upper limit to the weight of packages that can be sent back attached to reply paid envelopes. And this guy moved into or inherited a house that was chock-full of junk: broken bricks, wood, old tyres, busted furniture, etc etc.
So every time he got a credit card offer in the mail … he boxed up a heap of junk, taped a reply-paid envelope to the front of it, and dropped it off at the post office.
Here in Ontario, we just put a sign on our mailbox (available for $2 in any hardware store) that says “no junkmail or flyers, please,” and the postal workers are by law required to not give us anything addressed to “resident.” The serfs who go around stuffing mailboxes with advertising for pizza joints are also required to not give us their crap. It works beautifully.
I’m not sure if this falls into the status of urban legend or not, but I love the story about the man who subscribed to as much junk mail as possible. The man saved all of this paper and used it to heat his home all winter long.
Telling lots of companies that you’re deceased might not be a good idea. When it comes to trying to get a loan etc. you don’t know how difficult it will be if their records (or those of a sister company) say you’re dead.
Maybe you don’t want services from companies that send junk mail and have badly designed databases, but you can’t always choose. You don’t know how badly you might need that service immediately, in the future.
I realise this is quite pessimistic.
My friend in Tapei saves the glossy colored flyers and then has an origami party with her friends and they make beautiful origami animals out of them.
#6: I am currently a serf working for a pizza place, and in the US (not sure about Canada), we’re not allowed to put anything in a mailbox to begin with. So we have to hang them on doorknobs, in between doors, things like that.
migods man! That sounds extremely messy!
How does one annoyance-proof the home? I suppose a sturdy fence with locked gate and no mailbox is a start. If a mailing address must be maintained it could be a post office box. A sign on the gate saying “no flyers/junk mail”. If you are on utilities, all meters at the property line so they can be read without crossing the fence line. No telephone land line, or remove the ringer (use cell phones for those actually wish to speak with). A half dozen hounds in the yard and you are set.
Which still leaves spam.
I’ve got, lets see….perhaps 100 or so “business reply mail” envelopes stacked up.
Some are stuffed with the sender’s junk (removed my address), some are stuffed with a glitter-filled letter from the “mail fairy”, some are empty, some are stuffed with competitors’ junk mail ;) and some I haven’t sealed yet (awaiting stuff).
I figure one day I’ll drop the whole lot of them into the mailbox all at once. -Hey, they are paying for the postage!
I like the idea of attaching the business reply envelope to a box, and then fill that box with bricks. At least that costs them money.
Agree with #9. When my mom died and my dad wanted to cancel their joint credit card, they had to make him the primary cardholder instead of her, so he’d have the authority to cancel it…and then they noted the reason for cancellation as “death of primary cardholder.”
Seven years later, my dad still turns up “dead” periodically because of this, wreaking havoc with everything from loans to taxes. It might be unlikely that writing “deceased” on junk mail would net you this, but trust me, it’s not worth taking the chance.
I use a different middle initial for all my memberships (museums, web sites, etc).
That way I can see right away who the junk mail came from and contact them. They always say “Oh, that wasn’t from us” and then I reveal how I know.
It has actually stopped SOME junk mail, but it’s mostly just a good feeling to have somebody to bitch at.
For the past few months, we’ve been getting so much that I have come up with an enjoyable past time for junk mail. I open it, tear it all up and then put it all back into the self addressed envelope and mail it back to them (with the original envelope crammed inside as well.
Sometimes my wife and I will both get one on the same day from various CC companies. I’ll put both of them in one mailer, and it’s a nice thick gift.
A few of them have stopped mailing us their crap.
I use the same method as Moon, except inadvertently. I have an unusual last name (I didn’t think so, but it seems to be) and just about every service I obtain via telephone misspells my last name in new, inventive ways. That makes it easy to follow the junk trail.
Not that it helps a lot.
I am going to have to change my method and start mailing brick boxes. That’s brilliant.
Supposedly you can only mail back the envelope or card the reply information is printed on. So I guess it’s a little worthless to send a brick and/or a box filled with a brick. See why here: http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_356.html
“So we have to hang them on doorknobs, in between doors, things like that.”
I have to go round front every two days and pull all these flyers out of the places you stick them. If I don’t I get people snooping around trying to break in because they think I’m not home. I hope you get eaten by coyotes tomorrow.
I’ve tried the business reply envelope thing. It’s a waste of time. The mail man caught on the first time and just didn’t take the envelopes. I didn’t do anything but put the junk mail back in them. Not like I put a bunch of cat shit in them or something. Put up a sign on the mail box.
My ideal thing would be what Packard Jenning drew as an airline emergency pamphlet. It was featured on Boing Boing last year.
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