So we’ve got this thing here in Denmark where supermarkets and other places send promotional catalogues to your house ever day. Have you ever heard of this phenomenon? Yeah, pretty revolutionary stuff.
The good news is you can opt out of getting these leaflets. The bad news is that it’s a bit of a hassle.
First, you have to fill out and submit an online application. Then it gets processed and approved. Then you get a special sticker sent to your address, with “Promotions – no thanks!” on it. You then attach this sticker to your mailbox and you’re promotion-free…for two years. Then you have to get a new sticker. Also, if you move to a new address you can’t just take the sticker with you. You have to apply anew and receive another one.
The way above is actually the easy one. If you’re not comfortable with them Internets and the webs and filling out online applications you’ll have to go to a post office in person. There you’ll fill out a physical application form, show them your ID, solve an IQ puzzle and then submit a sample of your blood for verification. OK, so I’ve made the last two up, but it’s still an inconvenient process.
Today I carefully considered this state of affairs and came to the following realisation: this is bullshit! Why do we have to “opt out” of getting unwanted crap in our mail? Why is the default choice “Yes, please stuff 10+ brochures into my mailbox on a daily basis”?!
Sure, there are some people who love to browse through offers every day and maybe a few hardcore origami enthusiasts who could always use the extra paper. However, I’m quite confident that the vast majority of us don’t consider carrying stacks of paper from our mailboxes to recycling bins a fun pastime.
Unsolicited marketing material is universally considered a bad thing. That’s why junk mail filters exist in the online world and why telemarketers have such a bad rep. So why should we have to go through a bureaucratic process to be spared the promotional junk in our mailboxes?
Seriously, we don’t accept this in most other situations. It’s not like my bus driver punches me in the face every morning, unless I’m carrying a pre-approved “Don’t punch my face, please” card on me. The garbage man doesn’t build elaborate trash-bag snowmen and leave them outside my door until I explicitly opt out of this service.
Call me crazy, but I’d expect things to work the other way round. (Side note: please don’t call me crazy, I’ve got self-esteem issues). So here’s what I suggest: nobody gets any promotional mail, unless they fill out an application and ask for it. Everybody wins.
The postman has less crap to carry and can focus on legitimate letters instead. I don’t have to learn how to build puppets out of home made papier-mâché. The rainforests get destroyed at a slightly slower pace. Supermarkets don’t have to print as many brochures and sell as many produ…yeah OK, so not everybody wins.
What do you think? Am I being unreasonable? How’s the situation with promotional mail where you’re at? Will you leave a comment or am I talking to myself? I’m not crazy, am I? AM I?!