From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Height for rural mailbox
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2008 00:35:18 -0400
On Mon, 14 Apr 2008 22:53:43 -0400, "Edwin Pawlowski" <email@example.com> wrote:
>"SteveB" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote in message
>> I'm going to start taking their return envelope, fill it with other
>> stuff, and send it back to them so they will have to pay for the excess
>> weight. MAYBE they will take the hint and take me off their mailing list.
>I do that all the time. I remove anything with my name and stuff the return
>envelope with papers from another offer.
Be aware that the direct mail industry got the regulations changed over 15
years ago to stop most of the liability for those stunts. The return postage
limit is capped at something like a dollar. The regs let the post office
simply toss overstuffed envelopes, something the sorting machines do with
verve. If you want the BRM to actually cost the mail spammer anything then
don't over-weight it. Actually, just sending back the empty envelope
accomplishes about 85% of your goal of costing them something.
As of 15 years ago when I was in the magazine business, a postage-paid
business reply matter (BRM) cost around 85 cents in postage so stuffing it
doesn't do much. Takes the fun out of sticking a PP-BRM to an old tire and
mailing it back :-)
>Credit card company may get the
>offer for cheap car insurance or a coupon for 20¢ off a box of Tampax.
>Sure, childish maybe but I have to wonder what nasty names the guys in the
>mailroom call me when they open them.
Much of the BRM envelope processing is now done in the Third World. Again, 15
years ago Bangladesh was becoming a major player. Back then they'd ship the
bulk mail to Bangladesh for opening and ship it again, this time to a
nominally English speaking area like India for keypunch. Handwriting
recognition software probably does it now. No Americans ever touch the paper
after it leaves the USPS sorting facility.
Only speculation now: Probably the most effective thing at gumming up the
works that you could do would be to put something in or on the envelope that
would muck up the operation of the sorting machines. Like that rubber snot
that they bind in the business reply post cards in magazines. The post office
tends to reflect all the costs of processing back onto the direct mail
industry so I bet that if a lot of people do this, there would be a negative
effect on direct mail.
If you just want to get rid of junk mail then there are several steps you can
take. I've done all of these and it has worked grandly.
1. Get on the federal do-not-call list. http://www.donotcall.gov/
2. Get on your state's do-not-call list
3. Get on the Direct Marketing Association's do-not-mail list
4. Have a flag put on your account with the three major credit reporting
agencies that you do not want to get credit card or loan solicitations.
Here is the DMA's opt-out page
The first selection is what you want, though it seems broken at the moment.
Incidentally, the DMA is raising the legislative alarm regarding states that
are proposing to pass do-not-mail legislation similar to the do-not-call ones.
Their "bad" (our good) states are listed here.
Use this as a guide to support existing legislation if your state is included
or to spur new legislation if it isn't.