I have received just about every catalog known to man. When I go out to my mailbox, I never know who is going to attempt to entice me to order from a varied selection of items I have never even heard of, let alone, considered buying. I get home decorating catalogs. I get clothing catalogs. I get ones full of toys, others selling jewelry, still others selling overpriced gadgets for “those who have everything” – the implication being that “they” don’t have the items for sale by this particular company. Many of the glossy mailings offer exclusives that are not found in their competitors offerings. Somebody must buy this stuff – the t-shirts with Albert Einstein on the front with some pithy saying emblazoned across the chest, or inflatable yard “art” suitable for just about any holiday you can think of, plus a few you’ve never been introduced to. It had gotten so bad that at times my postman actually had to deliver our day’s mail in a box that was placed by the front door, because it would not all fit in our mailbox.
Our next door neighbor loves to collect our mail when we’re out of town because of the sheer entertainment value of our catalogs. Last spring I heard her talking about the catalogs we get at a party be both attended. It was getting a bit embarrassing at that point. So, I took it upon myself to solve the problem of catalog overload.
Last May I started calling the customer service numbers of each catalog I received that I didn’t want. Some of them even have specific selections on their phone tree for those who want to get off their mailing list. I’ve kept track of all the companies I’ve called, so I can monitor if they’re actually honoring my request. Just about every one of them tells me it really takes about 12 weeks to stop receiving their catalogs – something about pre-printed labeling in the computer. Some of them I’ve had to remind that I didn’t want to receive their mailings even after four months, but most have stopped sending their paper inventory listings.
I’m up to 54 catalogs that I’ve asked to stop being sent to my home. I’ve decided to keep receiving some companies’ catalogs. There are those which contain interesting pages to glance through and some, like J. Peterman, are just too well-written and entertaining to miss. My mailbox seems to be relieved and has stopped tilting forward with the excess weight of its contents. I thought I was making real progress, and then, Christmas season was upon us, and with it, the list continues to grow. I’ll bet before the year is over I will have just about doubled the number of companies on my list.