Everybody wants a piece of me

I began writing this post on a Sunday around noon. At that point, on that day alone, I had gotten a request by phone to donate for a political campaign (“today’s request is for just $150”), received two requests from my daughter’s school as I sorted through the weekly mail (one for a capital campaign, one for a contribution to the auction taking place next April), and sorted through two weeks’ worth of mail that included 4 lbs. of junk mail — that’s FOUR POUNDS of pure junk that I logged into GreenDimes. Among the junk were requests for contributions from at least six nonprofit organizations — a couple that I’ve contributed to in the past, more that I’ve never contributed to.

In addition to catalogs, I’m receiving a complement of materials from three phone companies, two television companies (including a barrage of information from the one I ALREADY SUBSCRIBE TO), and three coupons from a certain big-box bedding store.

Then there are offers from lawn care companies, maid companies, security companies — none of which I use. There’s an ad from a company that will relieve my baldness; I’m not even going gray, and my husband has an, if anything, TOO full head of hair. One persistent insurance company mails me weekly. One catalog wants me to buy tacky junk; another is full of tempting goodies that, nevertheless, I’m unlikely to buy. I’m offered laser vision correction, dolls and a mailing that said, “Welcome to the one magazine for women over 40 who love to act their age.” That’s so nice for them, but I’m not going to be “over 40” for another five years.

This week I’ve received a half-dozen political calls and a letter from my daughter’s horseback-riding nonprofit asking me to donate “Just $100, $500 or $1,000.” “Just” a thousand bucks? Whoa!

The level of waste is exhausting, and the level of need from all these charitable organizations is depressing. In the past, I’ve donated smaller amounts to a variety of charities, but each one then mails me several times a year — and the environmental organizations seem to create the most waste.

This week, the level of junk mail seems to have subsided; it’s been about three months since my GreenDimes subscription began, so perhaps that is making a difference.

As for the donation requests, fortunately, the election will soon be behind us. As for nonprofits, in the future, I’m thinking of choosing an organization or two and making more significant contributions.

Please share your suggestions for keeping needs and junk to a minimum.


6 thoughts on “Everybody wants a piece of me

  1. Lisa says:

    Wow! Greendimes has helped mine a lot. We live with my in-laws and I hand them a huge stack of junk each day with maybe one item for us, not bad.

    I’m getting a lot of ads for a candidate I can’t stand but other than that, it’s getting better for sure but getting closer to Christmas I’m sure I will be taking my name off of lots of catalog lists.

  2. katbur says:

    Anything that I receive that has a postage paid return envelope gets FILLED with other junk mail. Just make sure to remove any of your identifying information. I figure eventually these folks will grow tired of paying to have recycling sent back to them and they’ll stop.
    By the way, have you noticed a sharp decrease in credit card offers in the past few weeks or is it just me?

  3. cheaplikeme says:

    @katbur – I have indeed noticed the decline in credit card offers – and I heard that credit card companies are reining in credit, even lowering some people’s credit limits.

    @Lisa – glad GreenDimes is working for you — I hope we’re at a new beginning in our junk mail now that we’re three months in!

  4. Condo Blues says:

    I put my junk mail to good use. I shred it (because I’m paranoid about ID theft) and stick it in my compost bin. This works well for me because I don’t have access to grass clippings and I need a source of “browns material.”

    Plus, there is something personally satifying about shredding mail from organizations that I don’t support and wonder how they got my name in the first place. The same thing goes for items sent to me that I do not fit into their demographic – I got the same magazine for 40 year old women too!

  5. Christine says:

    In terms of charities, you could call each one individually and ask them to remove your name from their mailing list. It takes time, but it’s worth it. I work for a small nonprofit, and we have people who give money but ask specifically not to receive any mailings. A phone call goes a long way.

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