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90 Minutes

I recently spent 90 minutes of a work day in a week when I only had 1.5 days for office tasks available calling companies and removing myself from their snail-mailing lists. Most of that time was spent on hold. When I hung up from the last one, I sighed deeply and almost declared it a waste of time.

It was not a waste of time. I only make it to the P.O. box about once every two weeks with my travel sked, so I always end up having to stand in line for the counter to collect a bundle. By the time I get done tossing the junk into the recycling bin, I only have enough mail for my size box.

So when I picked up the mail that time, I tore off the back covers of the catalogs so I could call and cancel the subscripts. Among the culprits were:

  • Anthony Richards (never heard of it until I looked to see who to call)

  • Massey's (again never heard of)


  • Clarity Services (they claim they're a credit bureau - never heard of that one; they had me on hold for 30 mins and I even took to Twitter)

  • Bosley (hair replacement - and they were ridiculous. I asked to be removed from mailers and then the agent said, "Sure. Can I have your phone number and we'll call instead?" I said, "No!" Very forcefully, but not rude. Then he said, "How about your email?" I answered, "No (more forcefully)! I don't want to hear from you." Then he understood)

The time was not wasted; it was well spent because in just two short cycles, I won't have to toss these things anymore and my box won't be overstuffed. That 90-minute phone investment will save me innumerable minutes in the days going forward in 2018.

I also ditched an email address I had since the 90s; I'll share more about that next time. This is turning into a year of clearing out ... I'll have to keep an eye out for more of those dynamics and report back.

Now I submit to you fellow problem solvers out there around the world - the U.S. in particular - that the system of selling addresses via hidden terms in contracts is severely broken and needs repair. Who's up for the challenge? I'm not a fan of additional legislation because the government has too much control of our daily lives as it is, but something needs to change. Or perhaps there are already services who intercept your snail mail like does your spam email and I'm just not savvy.

I'm curious what solutions you have to offer.

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