Promotions? No thanks!

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.

“That’s great sir. Now if you could just sign here and recite ‘War and Peace’ for me we’re good to go!”

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.

“Here’s your pizza! Do you want me to spit in it, or did you apply for our ‘spit-free’ membership?”

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?!

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14 thoughts on “Promotions? No thanks!

  1. BakedAlaskaInOr says:

    Without the cat now, there’s no litter box to line with junk mail.  We do not have an “opt out” here.  There’s only an “opt into” my mailbox  while I’m not looking.  For years, I’ve neatly stacked this junk in piles three feet high, and then I drive it down the mountain, then miles across town to the recycling bins.  But lately, I’ve been thinking about shoving it all into trash bags, (where it belongs anyway) and then after dark, way after dark, driving it to the Post Office steps, where I’ll attach a note saying, RETURN TO SENDER, before speeding back up the mountain.  If I get caught, and they call me “crazy,” maybe I’ll tell them they “ain’t even seen me crazy yet.” Just wait until I snap!  Whew. I feel better.  Thanks for listening. :))

    Like

    •  @BakedAlaskaInOr Hahahaa that would actually be pretty epic! If you ever do that I want the full account, preferably a picture or a Youtube video. It really sucks you can’t even opt out of it, that’s just a big waste and hassle for everyone!

      Like

  2. stevenandre67 says:

    In holland we have a sticker on our mailbox that says non unwanted mail or newspaper. Just trow a lock on to your mailbox and give one key to the mailman! 😉 lol

    Like

  3. KaterinaKlimoszkova says:

    Haha very true article 🙂 well in Czech Republic if you would change “default set up” you would strip most of the retired people of their favourite sport. They look through the adds, find the cheapest place and go and shop there even though it’s far away for them.

    Like

  4. RiaMajumdar says:

    Definitely not crazy. Thankfully we don’t have such things here in India. Instead they print their ads in the newspaper or paste them all over the walls unless you put up a “Stick No Bills” board.

    Like

    •  @RiaMajumdar Yeah wall posters are annoying, but at least you don’t have to clean them out of your mailbox daily ;). Hope those exams are going well!

      Like

      • RiaMajumdar says:

        @Daniel Nest My first paper is day after tomorrow, so that means I am doing the normal thing by procrastinating on the internet. 😛

        Like

  5. dianasschwenk says:

    I hear you! But at least you have a system to opt out – we don’t in Canada but so many people try by putting “no flyers, no unaddressed mail” notices on their mail boxes to no avail. One would think it’s expensive for those who pay to put these in our mail boxes but it must be working for them……

    Like

    •  @dianasschwenk True true. Pretty lucky that there’s an official way to end it here. I’m not really bothered by it at all on the daily basis, but thought it makes a good topic for a rhetorical ramble 😉

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  6. raeme67 says:

    Leaving the crazy issue out of it ..wouldn’t want to hurt  your self  esteem…. In the USA we have no opt out. 
    Don’t have a pool?  What the hell does that matter?  All summer long you are going to get ads for pool cleaning services and supplies, along with a lot of other irrelevant  ads.  There are internet sites were you can sign up for even more promotional stuff, in case you haven’t  finished papering the walls of the entire house/apartment with all the other promotional crap you keep getting!
     

    Like

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