A Damn Good Idea

- wadE

My day after work pretty much goes like this: I drive home. I stop at the mailbox on the way up the driveway. I pick up about 10 pounds worth of mail. When I get inside I check my answering machine. Every day I have at least three messages that are 25 seconds worth of dialtone (stupid people don't hangup right away, or it's an automatic dialer). After deleting those I start to cook dinner, during which time I answer the phone approxiamately 7,000 times. Let me give you one hint...if you call me and ask for Mr. or use my full name, I will tell you that 'he' isn't home. After dinner, I go through the pile of mail, 75% of which goes directly in the trash, the rest I have to open because A) it isn't obvious that it's an offer for a credit card; or B) some stupid credit card company has actually sent a card in the mail. Then I get a couple more calls in the evening. Then I can finally go to bed. On weekends I'll get calls at 8 in the morning...and for those of you that know me, you know this isn't a good time to chat with me. :-)

I hate it!

So the phone company now has this thing where for a "small monthly fee" they'll put you on a no-call list. But even then, there is no guarantee that you won't get any unwanted phone calls.

As far as mail, the USPS offers no program to limit the amount of junk mail you receive.

What can we do?

I got an email last week that has a great answer. I'm sure many of you have heard this before (or at least the mail half of it), but do you do it? If not, I'm encouraging you to.

Here's the deal:

When you get ads in your phone or utility bill, include them with the payment - let the companies throw them away. When you get those preapproved letters in the mail for everything from credit cards to 2nd mortgages and junk like that, most of them come with postage paid return envelopes, right? Well, why not get rid of some of your other junk mail and put it in these cool little envelopes! Send an ad for your local chimney cleaner to American Express. Send the pizza coupon to Citibank. If you didn't get anything else that day then just send them their application back! If you want to remain anonymous, just make sure your name isn't on anything you send them. You can send it back empty if you want to just to keep them guessing! Eventually, the banks and credit card companies will begin getting their junk back in the mail. Let's let them know what it's like to get junk mail, and the best of it is that they're paying for it! Twice! Let's help keep our postal service busy since they say e-mail is cutting into their business, and that's why they need to increase postage again!

What a great idea! Who came up with this? There should really be Nobel Prizes for this sort of genius!

My nomination for the first Nobel Damn Good Idea Prize winner is:

I suppose to some degree commerce would grind to a halt if telephone solicitors weren't able to call people at home during dinner hour. But that doesn't make it any more pleasant. Now Steve Rubenstein, a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, has proposed Three Little Words based on his brief experience in a telemarketing operation that would stop the nuisance for all time. The three little words are "Hold On, Please". Saying this while putting down your phone and walking off instead of hanging up immediately would make each telemarketing call so time-consuming that boiler rooms would grind to a halt. When you eventually hear the phone company's beep-beep-beep tone, you know it's time to go back and hang up your handset, which has efficiently completed its task.
Three little words that eliminate telephone soliciting.

Fan-freakin'-tastic! I love it.

- 10/02/2002

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