Tuesday, October 11

How to Get Off a Mailing List

We moved into our current apartment over a month ago. We love the place, the people before us loved the place--it's a great place. Big windows, everything's within walking distance, and there are several choice bus routes in case we need something more than everything.

It's just that the people here before us don't seem to believe in forwarding addresses, and they did a lot of catalog shopping or got on a bunch of mailing lists. This combines adversely with our ill-tempered postal carrier who (using his handiwork as evidence) is on the verge of "going postal" in the grand old-fashioned way.

Routinely, every day of every week, if there is mail coming into our narrow mail slot, he packs it all in as though muzzle-loading a musket. He could take all the mail and roll it into a tidy cylinder, but no: he seems to put my postcards in first, then the bills, then he rolls up the catalogs and jams them down on top. All my mail is crushed and spindled, to borrow a relevant phrase.

My response to this is two-pronged: I've obtained a phone number to call to complain about this guy. I love the postal system, I love mail, I even understand that our mail slots are not roomy at all, but his behavior is a sign of either incompetence or poor anger management skills.

A glimpse of my secret world: Swiss Gear travel bag,
cutting mat and X-acto knife, How To Draw Manga
, and three tedious, unlikable postcards.
Secondly, I've undertaken a little project in which I cut out the mailing label from every catalog (including the bar code and any catalog/customer IDs) and paste them onto the backs of postcards. For this, you can use anything from posterboard to the lid of an old pizza box. In my case, I'm using some ugly postcards I would otherwise be too ashamed to share with anyone I liked. They're from a set of vintage gift wrap designs from the '20s, and many of them were nice, but some were so bland that no one would be delighted to receive them in the mail.

This is how you formally request to be removed from a mailing list, in a forceful and legally compliant way that no responsible business has any right to refuse. Beneath the label (or just your address, if you prefer), you write these three things:

Anyone who writes back to you after receiving that is in line for a lawsuit.

And remember, the destination address must be the lowest address on the postcard: paste (or write) your address up high and then write the destination address as low as you dare. Leave some room for the bar code label the post office will apply there, and what I do after that is write the address in reverse order, going up from city and state and ZIP, line by line. That way, I leave as little room as possible at the bottom of the card.

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