I am hoping that my spite can spread. In today's world full of "more sperm in your penis" email spam landslide, it's easy to forget how obnoxious regular ole postal mail spam is. Well, as much as I might try, I can't forget. I'm greeted by a credit card offer on (anecdotal) average every day. Not to mention the random catalogs and occasional magazines (how did I get on the right list for E Weekly??) that show up.
Well, there are lots of ways of addressing this. This link talks about how you can get yourself off of the credit card list by calling up some random 800 number and giving them your social security number. Oh, or you can send a postal letter to some addresses with even more personal information. And hope.
This site talks about how you can pay them to stop spam. Maybe. It definitely appeals to the green in all of us. Lots of pictures of happy children and green planets.
Well, I'm a bit more spiteful and execution oriented than that. Additionally, I'm really lazy. Writing letters in the hope that someone might one day listen to me strikes me like thinking those mail-in rebates are actually going to work. Have you ever actually gotten one? Have you actually ever met anyone who does? I know I haven't. So I have an alternative solution.
According to this site bulk postage rates for pre-sorted barcoded mail (what a credit card response envelope would seem to be) is approximately $0.231.
Assuming the credit card companies get 50% off of the posted rates (they send a shit-ton of mail), they still pay about a dime ($0.10) per letter they send. They will also have to pay (presumably) that much for any response. Add in some overhead costs associated with putting together a letter and knowing to whom it needs to be sent, I'll bet that the postage is a big driver of cost. Based on how much credit card spam I get, and how I have never responded (and I mean never. Not once) but it doesn't stop, I can't imagine it costs much to put together that letter. Additionally, my understanding is that opening and sorting mail is actually a complex job that probably is done by humans, and not a machine. That means it's expensive but only happens when you return the envelope.
That means that postage is probably an actual cost driver in this scenario. And thankfully, the credit card companies (and, I suppose, God) have given me all of the tools I need to significantly increase the postage costs per offer sent to me.
Every one of those offers has a postage paid return envelope in them.
Why not use it?
This accomplishes two things. Firstly, it makes me feel like I'm doing something. And that's always a primary goal. Secondly, it significantly increases the cost of sending me that offer.
Want to know the next way I can increase the costs? I want /you/ to start doing this too. Seriously. It's easy, it's fun, and hell, maybe it just might bleed the beast a bit.
Next time you get an unsolicited credit card offer in the mail (and I'm sure that'll be tomorrow, unless today is Saturday, in which case it'll be in two days), open it up, seal that return envelope, and send it on back.
While you have that envelope open, you might as well check to see if there is any choice secret information about you (like say SSN, address, full name, etc), which you should shred while you're at it. That's another upside of this process; it reminds me to shred that (get a cross-cut shredder so it means something).
That's it. If you start doing this, all I ask is a note back so that I know my spite is spreading.
To quote Calvin: Nothing helps misery like spreading it.