Catalog Choice

Have you ever carried your mail from your mailbox directly to your recycle bin? If so, you feel my frustration with all this wasted paper. Each time I carry these catalogues up the stairs I think that my house should have a recycle bin next to my mailbox. Even better, maybe I can put my recycle bin at the post office, so my mailman doesn’t need to carry all this weight around. The real solution would be to call the catalog company and ask them not to send any more catalogs. For a long time the idea of being put on hold for a long time and the uncertainty of success, not to mention my usual laziness, prevented me from doing this.

You might imagine how high I jumped with joy when I heard about Catalog Choice at, the company that will request on my behalf a cessation of these mailings. Their website is nicely done and appropriately greenish. You just register and enter the catalogs you do not want. It doesn’t take much time and all the negotiation is done for you.

Up to this point, I’ve rejected 58 catalogs through this website. Only eight of them confirmed that they will honor my request. I even received a special confirmation letter from L.L.Bean. Sending a letter might be polite, but it contradicts my goal of reducing the waste of paper and of my time.

Unfortunately, there were three catalogs, including Newport News, that refused to honor my request. I was so angry that I decided to call Newport News and demand my removal from their mailing list. They agreed to my request. Can you guess what happened next? I received another catalog. I called them again. And I was removed from the list again. I received yet another catalog. I called them again. They told me that I am in their database marked as a person to whom they shouldn’t send catalogs. But the catalog they sent to me had a temporary customer number, so it is not in their system and therefore doesn’t count. According to Newport News’ logic, the check-mark in the database indicating that I am not supposed to receive catalogs supersedes the fact that I actually continue receiving them. They believe their database is more reliable than facts. What can I do? I will not buy from Newport News again.

Later, I made another interesting observation: I started receiving catalogs with my name misspelled. Do they really think that if they write Tonya instead of Tanya, I will suddenly become interested in their catalogs? We all know that the reason of the misspelling is so that they can pretend to honor my request, but still send me their catalog.

This situation is not right. I shouldn’t be getting catalogs against my will, especially after I’ve made my preferences clear. I think that we should fine companies that persist in doing this. Perhaps we can have a “Do Not Mail Me Catalogs” Registry that is similar to the government’s “Do Not Call” Registry.

Meanwhile, if you are like me and care about the environment, you too can sign up at the Catalog Choice.


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