2011-10-13

When it goes straight in the bin, we didn't really need it

For a long time we've been getting "convenience" checks from Chase for our one remaining credit card. The card has a zero balance, but we haven't decided whether we want to cancel it outright. Maybe because of the zero balance, maybe because they just want to make it as easy as possible to use the thing, they've been sending us more and more of these checks. I haven't paid close attention to it but I'm fairly certain we've gotten four batches in the last month or so.

Turns out there are a lot of things we acquire that get thrown directly in the paper recycle bin. It's not all ads or convenience checks or newsletters. There are even things we get in the mail that we can't recycle simply because we feel like it's too close to "personal" information that we should probably shred it. And by shred I mean take to the office shred bin, which I'm relatively certain gets incinerated.

A week ago I started attempting to send some emails to request less mail we perceive to be junk. To me, very close to 100% of the mail we receive is junk. We don't want ads, we can find coupons we actually want some other way, we aren't looking for a new church or Chinese restaurant, and I really don't care to see something from Blue Cross if all they're doing is telling me they paid my claim. Or worse yet have received the claim and are processing it.

So far I've managed to stop a few, though at this point it's hard to tell just by looking at the mailbox.

Here's what I've asked for and the responses I've gotten--this may get boring.

  • We get Topeka Zoo newsletters because we gifted a FOTZ membership to Jess's parents. I asked them to stop the newsletter but never got a response. And today we got a newsletter. Try, try again.
  • We inexplicably get tons of mail from State Farm, though neither of us has ever had insurance from them. I asked them to stop and they told me to call tech support. I replied to that email explaining that it's not exactly a tech support issue but a customer service one. They did not respond, though the email I received didn't mention not replying. I may have to send a new request.
  • Every so often CACU will send us postcards and newslettery sorts of things. The worst one ever just came the other day. They sent us a paper map of all their branch locations with a listing of all their ATMs on the back. It was a neat concept because it folded up nicely into a credit-card-sized packet. But, oh yeah, the Internet! Oh, and they just made a big deal out of their iPhone app which has a branch and ATM locator. Anyway, I asked them to stop sending us ads and whatnot and they said they took us off the list for that sort of thing. I like my credit union.
  • As mentioned, Chase sends us convenience checks all the time. They've said they'll stop sending those and ads to us.
  • Surprisingly I did not get a response from my actual insurance agent. JB where are you man? All we want is to stop getting mail that says that our account will be charged this amount on this date and we should therefore not send a payment because this isn't a bill. If it's not a bill, why am I getting it?
  • Now that I was thinking about it, I've just sent a message to Blue Cross asking if we can stop getting paper copies of the stupid stuff they send us. I generally assume that if I do not receive a large bill from my doctor, the insurance probably held up their end of the deal and paid for my services. And it's typically a safe bet that if the doctor's office doesn't call and say the insurance didn't accept the claim, they are probably processing the claim.
  • We got a random card from Associated Audiologists, so I sent them an email asking how we got on a mailing list and to please stop. They basically said to go sign up for dmachoice.org and that would take care of this sort of thing. So I've just done that and we'll see how effective it is.
  • We periodically got catalogs and newsletters from Samaritan's Purse because we participated in Operation: Christmas Child last year. I don't think we ever really read any of them. I've asked them to stop as well; though I appreciate their mission, I don't need the wasted paper every month. They haven't responded yet.
  • And the first one I did was our King Arthur Flour catalogs. We got them for the last almost-year because Jess got me this awesome dough whisk, which I use to make breads. But seriously, if we're going to buy something from them we will shop the catalog online and purchase online.
There are some more to take care of at some point, but we've made a decent start. I think the tricky one will probably be the ValPak and the Red Plum ads.