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From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Good Sam Life Membership
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 12:51:08 EST
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel

Ben Franklin VI wrote:
> OH Debbie --
> you forgot to enclose the 10 ounce flat of scrap metal in the envelope!

Which would cause the article to be automatically rejected by the
post office automatic sorting equipment.  According to the little
USPS class I attended when I first started doing 3rd class mailing,
anything in a BRE (business reply envelope) that weighs over 2 oz is
rejected.  This is at the behest of the bulk mail industry to stop
just such assaults.  Sorry, bulk mail pays the freight at the post
office; they are taken care of first. 

 Just keep the envelope under 2 oz.  That will still cost 'em almost
a buck.

> > I sent the whole pile of stuff back in their
> >post paid envelope with a note

From: John De Armond
Subject: Junk Mail (was Re: Good Sam Life Membership)
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 18:51:37 EST
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel

deb wrote:
> On Fri, 12 Nov 1999 12:54:16 -0500, Neon John
> <> wrote:
> >
> >
> >Ben Franklin VI wrote:
> >>
> >> OH Debbie --
> >> you forgot to enclose the 10 ounce flat of scrap metal in the envelope!
> >
> > Just keep the envelope under 2 oz.  That will still cost 'em almost
> >a buck.
> >
> >John
> I'm sure it was under 2 oz. prob. not more than 1 oz. I sure hope
> someone reads it.  Wonder if the VP that dreamed this one up is
> getting a little flack??  heehee    Deb

Not sure about the specifics of GS club but most high volume mail
solicitations are handled by clearinghouses.  Those BREs arrive at a
mail drop where they're loaded on an airplane and shipped to third
world countries, typically India and Indonesia, where the data is
keyboarded by people working for near nothing.  The raw datasets
arrive back in the US either on tape or via satellite and the
envelope contents end up as fuel for the peasants.  Many of these
keyboard operators speak no English and are trained, monkey-like, to
push the "a" key in response to a mark on the paper that looks like
an "a".  Handwritten comments and enclosures are simply lost on the

This same system is used for payment processing.  This is why you
see the note on your credit card (among others) bill that says to
never enclose letters or problem notifications in with your bill

My company was contracted to write the software to make all this
happen for a large clearinghouse that shall remain unnamed.  The
distastefulness of that experience was one of the key motivators for
me to sell the company, retire and start cooking pig and bending
glass for spending money.

The best shot you can take against these guys is to a) fill the
envelope to just under 2 oz, and b) put known-bogus information on
the form.  

A basic BRE costs 38 cents (or did prior to the last couple of rate
increases).  Two ounces is about 70 cents, if my fuzzy memory is

Placing known-bogus information on the form costs them by causing
subsequent mailings to be sent to undeliverable addresses.  The bulk
mailer pays regardless.  The post office offers bulk mailers a
service that combs their direct mail database and eliminates old
addresses and corrects addresses for those who have forwarding cards
on file.  Thus, the bogus address must be "real" in that it must
point somewhere.  I like vacant lots.  If the form requires a SSN,
be sure to use one of the numbers the Social Security Admin has set
aside for testing.  Since almost every other number has been
assigned at some point, using a number outside the test set may
adversely affect the owner of that number.  The test numbers that I
know of are 078-05-1120 and the numbers in the range of 987-65-4320
through -4329.  The first number is the one printed on millions of
wallet inserts in the 40s and 50s and so SSA marked it invalid. 
Most software is programmed to filter out these numbers but at least
it gets the form processed which costs the spammer money.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: SPAM
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 21:35:46 EST
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel

"George E. Cawthon" wrote:
> Whoa.  We need some clarification.  Most of the writings in the news
> indicate that first class mail helps support bulk junk mail.

Other way around, at least according to the USPS. I had to take a
short course from the USPS as part of getting my 2nd class permit
during the Performance Engineering mag days.  We were taught that
3rd class, AKA bulk mail supported both 1st class and 2nd class, AKA
educational mail.  Apparently by a significant amount too.  Very
believable.  Considering that even with the cheapest rate for
walk-route sorting (the bulk mailer does all the work except walking
the route and stuffing the mailboxes), the rate was still something
like 18 cents a piece.  T hat's a passel of dollars when someone
like Publisher's Clearing House bombs oh, 100 million mailboxes at


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