Another Friday afternoon; I fish in the mailbox and there is the usual pre-approved credit card application. Those folks in Wilmington, Delaware and that place in North Dakota must really love me to keep sending me this stuff again and again, often more than once a week.
I walk upstairs and enjoy the ritual of brutally ripping the envelope. It is so flattering to get these mails from them extolling my excellent financial record and my credit rating that they have made the 'simple' decision of pre-approving me for their Platinum/Gold/Rewards card with its customized clear plastic design with x % Cashback bonus/0% Intro APR/Balance Transfer. This time I saw a note at the bottom written in the fashion of the statutory warnings on cigarette packets:

You can choose to stop receiving prescreened offers of credit from us and other companies by calling toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT

Really? I could be free of these people? who unfailingly find me despite the fact that I have moved 6 times in 3 years and given them no hints! (Yet, magazines that I subscribe to have not managed to implement this auto-detect mechanism. Why?) These people have persisted year after year, week after week despite the fact that I never once took up any of their offers. Now, I have the chance to be free of them forever. I almost pick up the phone to call and then hesitate.

If I take this step, there will be no more mails in the mailbox on most days. If it wasn't for them the mailman would think that I was probably dead or had moved without a forwarding address. I mean these people are the only ones who write to me in the old-fashioned way, using snail mail, and acknowledge my existence on this planet. Compared to email spam, this junk-mail is rather benign. These are people who flatter me by sending me these lovely letters and not the ones who try to demoralize me by suggesting that I need to enlarge my ___ ! Who in the world is willing to write testimonial after testimonial to my exemplary character and fiscally reponsible self? And what about all that fun of ripping open those envelopes and then gleefully chucking them in the bin? I am not quite ready to say good-bye to all that. Take me off your list... but not yet.

Update - 8th June, 2006
Not surprisingly, most folks have been irked by the junk. For more practical suggestions see: Reduce Junkmail.


Ashutosh said...

Thank you for the tip!
And you should call! That way, you me, and countless others can finally start helping to save a few trees. It's astounding how much paper these guys waste simply in sending letters and offers to people who have long since moved/departed to heaven and have been reborn.

Seriously; every week, I get at least three envelopes full of paper in the name of some Eastern European people who I have never heard of, who apparently lived in this apartment six years ago. This waste of paper is appalling. As if wasting toilet paper was not enough.

Hirak said...

I would also blame universities for selling addresses of students.

Ashutosh said...

I did not know that!

anya said...

You would still continue getting grocerystore coupons and other pamphlet crap.

Saket said...

No way they find it out from your credit history. Methink they randomly search with social security numbers. If you look up your credit history on the web, it shows that Amex and Capital One look up your history every month.

Hirak said...

Saket: Yes, the credit history is where they get most of their info. Also, I think companies also share information.
As far the university is concerned - the U of M sells info for sure, since I have got letters that state that they obtained it from the University.
* *
There is a way to stop that junk too. You can actually have it returned to sender and THEY have to pay for it.