More on mail pollution

  Dear HCN,


The following is a note I sent to Al and Betty Schneider upon reading of their efforts to get control of junk mail in my first issue of a new subscription to High Country News (a newspaper I've wanted to get for years but have just now gotten as a gift subscription). Al replied with a bunch of useful and well designed suggestions on the issue. I thought I had a handle on the beast but found how easily it slipped through my perimeters (to mangle a metaphor). This is a HUGE problem and I'm grateful the Schneiders have given it so much thought and are willing to share what they know.





Cate Campbell


Missoula, Montana





Greetings fellow mail purgers!


I was intrigued by the suggestion in HCN that you can help people get their names off mailing lists. Please pass along any advice you may have and indulge me for a moment by reading my tale of woe. I had, through dint of great effort (about four years' worth), gotten my mailbox cleaned up. In May of last year, I filled out a consumer information card for Gore Tex that was included in a box of Vasque hiking boots I'd bought.


For some reason, at the last minute, I used a false name on the survey card. In August, the deluge of junk mail began. Mail was being sent to the pseudonym I'd used on the response card.


I had the feeling, like in the sorcerer's apprentice, that a monster had been created. Every company that had bought my name would sell it to another, etc., and it would take another four years to get back where I'd been. Needless to say, I wrote to Gore Tex and complained. I got a surprisingly intelligent letter back from the W. L. Gore & Associates marketing guru, who said she was not satisfied with the "outside firm" they'd hired to handle entry of data from the cards into a huge database. She continued to tell me that after the database is complete for periodic market research surveys (yeah, right!) "the names are then available for purchase by list houses." " She claimed she was "concerned that the names are so widely circulated and will address this issue with the new company." She never addressed what Gore Tex makes on providing information on their market share.


Anyway, I have saved every piece of mail sent to my pseudonym and plan to mail it all to her on the one-year anniversary of my completing the survey. I've got about four pounds of mail so far from Gov. George Bush, Jimmy and Rosyln Carter, FingerHut, PETA, etc., etc. Thought you could add this tidbit into your files if you weren't already aware. I now use a false name or address or both on all "Value Cards' in grocery stores, etc. This is the first time I've been "bitten" by filling out a consumer/market research questionnaire. I'll never complete another.


Thanks for spreading the word and empowering people to take back their mailboxes!


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