How much stuff do we need? Theo losing the battle…….

I have declared war on advertisement! And it looks like I am losing the battle. I have advanced to an age where I deserve and highly cherish my afternoon siesta nap at home. Unfortunately my wife’s office is right next to the bedroom and on her desk sits a phone. I am not a big fan of phones but I admit they are a necessity and occasionally useful. For several days now, just as I had dropped my book and fallen into my siesta nap, the phone rang and woke me up. Every time it was an 800 number with automated advertisement recording! Not even a person to shout at. Although I did shout and swear anyway– just in case! I don’t want to repeat my words! Usually when I get one of these low lives on line who have the great urge to sell me something I don’t need I ask them politely if they have a second, then put the phone on “mute” and let them wait. Trust me, it works! They have never called back.
While I slowly get the phone ad attacks under control I am still fighting with the flood of catalogues. And I hate to admit I am losing the battle. My wife once ordered something from a catalogue and that started an avalanche of catalogues of all sorts of things not even remotely related to the item my wife had ordered. Every time I empty our mailbox it is filled with catalogues. I always wondered what the connection between a t-shirt (that my wife had ordered) and a wheel-barrow or a small submarine was. It just doesn’t make sense. A friend told us we could go online and stop the catalogue subscriptions we had not subscribed to in the first place. It worked for some not for others and only for a while. Now the mailbox is full again. And going towards the ”Holidays” it will get worse – I heard “Christmas” is politically not correct anymore because….
Now, what can people like us do against this threat? Jami and I both love the environment and try our best to be as environmentally conscious as possible. I am a bit of an extreme when it comes to stuff. I hate stuff I don’t need. I greatly dislike shopping and only buy new shoes when the old ones have holes in the soles. I wonder how many processed trees have gone through our mailbox within the 3 years I have lived in the USA.

Yesterday I went to the mailbox to see it once again totally packed with catalogues. At home the first thing I did is fish the personal mail out of the stack of junk mail. Since important letters had been hidden between catalogue pages before I have to shake each catalogue to make sure no cheque is hidden inside. (I don’t care about bills!) While doing this my eyes suddenly fell on a picture I knew very well. A polar bear mother with 2 small cubs that just had emerged from their den. It was the cover of the National Geography 2015 “Holiday” (not “Christmas”!) catalogue. And it was mine. I took this picture 10 years ago. It is a shame that National Geographic trying to be so environmentally conscious has to make money by filling my mailbox with junk. As usual I threw all catalogues into the recycling bin except for the NatGeo one. Not that I intend to order anything from it! But the cover photo of the three polar bears has sentimental value as I took it on the same trip I met my lovely wife Jami.

Theo Allofs

4 replies
  1. wayne Woodward
    wayne Woodward says:

    Hi Theo – I share your frustration but i can recommend a response that i use and gives me a level of satisfaction. Often amid the marketing mail and catalogues there will be a return paid reply envelope. I literally stuff as much/many of the ‘offending’ articles into said envelope and return post it.

  2. Focus Expeditions
    Focus Expeditions says:

    Hi Wayne, Oz is a step ahead of the USA and offers an option. We don’t get a return envelope and literally are stuck with the crap. Unfortunately the paper is too slippery to use in the bathroom otherwise it would be put to good use and would save me money buying toilet paper.

  3. Laurie
    Laurie says:

    I have had good luck with calling each of these catalog companies and asking them to remove me from their mailing lists. It is probably too late to stop the mail deluge for this year, but it should help in the future…

  4. Focus Expeditions
    Focus Expeditions says:

    Laurie, Jami already did this once. Then other catalogues showed up. It is a pest. Several days in a row an 800 number called while I was napping. On the third day I got up really pissed off and yelled into the phone. I thought it was an automated advertisement call. But maybe not because they never called back.

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