Nov 212013

IMG_20131121_084259Like everyone else in their right mind, I used to just toss junk mail straight into the recycle bin. No more! I have been alerted to a fun new use of this modern scourge!

Fill the business reply envelopes with crap from other junk mailers. Then drop it in the mail. Why?

The awful spamming company will have to sort through the mail your returned. You are imposing on them the same time cost they imposed on you. Furthermore, they will have to employ a human to do this. If 100% of the populace returned our trash like this, we could create quite a few jobs!

On top of that, spam companies pay the postage for business reply mail. So you are also imposing the cost of postage upon them, PLUS you are helping to fund a vital social service (the Post) and tapping giant corporate money to do it!

It’s a Win-Win-Win (ok, the spamming company Loses, but we actively dislike them, so their Loss actually counts as a Win! So Win-Win-Win-Win!)

If this became commonplace, what would the results be?

Well, the cost of spamming would go up. This might reduce spamming – a plus. And it might result in companies paying to directly target people who are actually interested in what they are offering. That would mean the no-skill envelope-opener jobs being replaced with high-skilled (and thus more highly-paid) “figuring out who actually wants our stuff” jobs.

We’d also pay more attention to our mail and read some of it if we knew we were only getting stuff that we are likely to want to get.

So – never throw away a business reply envelope again! If you have a minute, stuff it with junk (to increase the size and weight, costing more postage and sorting labor). If you don’t, shit, just send it back empty! Still counts! :)

  4 Responses to “The best use for junk mail”

  1. I recently decided to do something similar with spam email (particularly of the “internet dating site” variety): try signing up the sender for their own service. Preferably using a name like “Annoying S***stain”.

  2. Years ago I carefully disassembled a postage-paid return envelope and used it as a label on a carefully wrapped brick!

  3. Cool idea! On the other hand, there’s the risk that you’re making some innocent working stiff’s job much harder at the spam agency, since I don’t really see agencies hiring an extra employee just because a few extra letters get sent back. Imagine the dread as you, the spam employee, open each envelope, hoping it will bring in a new customer and protect your job… nope, just some random piece of mail. Your boss is going to be pissed. Etc.

    (That said, probably still net-positive-utility. Maybe not worth the trouble on my end, though!)

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