Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

One Man's Empty Mailbox

"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak."
-Hans Hofmann

If one were to peer idly out a window here on an ordinary afternoon, and observe me making my way to the mailbox, and then glance at what I find in there, one might suspect that Spouse and I are not very popular.
On perhaps four days out of the week I throw open the door of the mailbox to find nothing but emptiness. As for the rest of the time- packages from Mater fill the void.
Those watching cannot imagine how pleasing it is, nor how hard Spouse and I worked to achieve this status.
Just under two years ago a frustrated Spouse, sinking under the weight of paperwork and advertising, determined to use the Internet for more services such as bill payments and banking, among others. He requested many companies to send statements and notices through the Internet rather than in bulky physical form. Signing up for less services meant that our address was dished out to a select and legitimate few.
It worked quite well but we had not counted on an even happier result.
Along the way, as our paper trail shrank, we began to also notice that gradually less unsolicited paper was getting into our mailbox. Due to a very specific, one-time error in the spelling of my name, I know for certain that a particular video store I frequented divulged my details to marketing companies, which resulted in my receiving much junk mail addressed to that incorrect name. The video store thereafter lost not only my patronage, but my personal details when Spouse and I found a new home.
During our last uprooting, the Rascals of Rubbish lost us altogether. We are now entirely free of the mass marketing and deluge of colourful pulp that inflicts many a post box. Save for an occasional offer of two pizzas for the price of one- placed weekly in all local boxes- we have succeeded in untangling ourselves from the chaos of superfluous mail.
May they never find us.
One man's empty mailbox might well be another man's simple life.


mermaid said...

I'm curious. What speaks in place of the empty mailbox?

Pappy said...

Good for you. What a bunch of nothing we get not only from advertisers, but from various businesses who send us bills. I am tempted to stick it in the envelope with my payment and mail it back to them. Pappy

julochka said...

my sister stayed with us for 5 months over the winter. she filed a change-of-address with the US postal service. it's actually not the idea that all that junk mail follows along with a change of address, but it was quite amazing how much of it did! we still get the occasional offer from a car dealership in cedar rapids. but generally speaking, here in DK there's not much junk mail or those even worse telephone calls trying to sell you vinyl siding or insurance or whatever. i never really thought about it, but there actually must be laws against it. thankfully! it sounds like you have rather effectively gotten off their radar as well. :-) good job!

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Mermaid- nothing speaks. There's not even an echo. The silence is golden.

Texican, I think of doing that too. If I thought they'd even notice, I'd do it.
It's the selling of our information that really gets to me, though. That's where most junk comes from- their passing on our details to markets. It makes me so mad.

Julie, I like how you called it radar- definitely we lost them, and we're glad about it. We also don't get phone calls any more, both because of the 'do not call' list we are on and because we have an internet phone instead of a landline.
I suppose there must be laws against the paper junk but I only know of the telephone situation, which you have to put yourself on in order to not be called. How about making it so that if we do want a call, we'll let them know ;) Otherwise, don't call us... but it works the opposite. You have to do the work to get peace and quiet.

tangobaby said...

I'm just like you...I love an empty mailbox. I rarely receive mail except for a few bills and cards on occasion, and I don't miss all of those credit card applications.

But I love my email inbox! I am always a little dejected when it is empty.

polona said...

in my country, you can actually buy a sticker indicating no junk mail is welcome. and most of the time it works, but not always.
glad you managed to get rid of the unwelcome mail.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Tangobaby, an empty mailbox is not such a bad thing, and I am lucky to have Mater sending me packages of tea now and then :)

Polona, that sounds like an excellent system. It mightn't always work but it's a good start.

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