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Junk Mail

by Carol Dunn

LA VETA- Today I was carefully perusing (tearing in half) a piece of junk mail – also known as a credit card offer– carefully and thoughtfully addressed to Carol “Bunn” when it occurred to me that I may not be alone.  There may be one or two other people in this mail-starved outpost called Huerfano County who also receive one or more credit card offers per day in their mail.  If we were still on the Pony Express route, it would take a team of percherons lumbering along at two-miles-per-hour to just haul the unsolicited mail that the mailers undoubtedly believe we will jump upon with glee and phone about immediately. 

    I doubt this is solely a rural concern.  As a matter of fact, it is one thing that unites us with our urban brothers and sisters.  And this is nothing new for me.  I have been receiving “pre-approved” credit card offers for about ten years.  They are, by the way, definitely NOT pre-approved as one discovers when one applies “before the offer expires” as the letter exhorts.  Granted, that was ten years ago, but it was a lesson learned. 

    Even at a modest one ounce per letter, that’s approximately 325 pounds of just that one type of junk mail that I have torn in half and thrown away in ten years.  Now I feel guilty.  And me, being educated in the environmental sciences, of all people, should know better.  I was green when it wasn’t cool.  So if we put our heads together (after the flu season is over) maybe we can come up with a way to recycle credit card offer junk mail.  Now THAT is an Al Gore book I’d like to read.  And that will be quite a challenge, because the mailers go to great lengths to make sure you don’t just tear their offer in half and toss it in the trash.  First of all, many of the letters have plastic windows, so they don’t really qualify as “paper” for recycling.  My personalized letter today was a 6×9 envelope containing a sheet of bubble wrap.  Have you ever tried to tear a sheet of bubble wrap?  Well, don’t bother.  Rather than rip, it causes the envelope to burst open, heaving forth its important and personalized contents onto the floor.  As you pick up the debris, you are literally FORCED to read some of it, including cheerful phrases like, “Three easy ways to request this card,” “I’m happy to let you know you’re invited,” “Choose a card design,” “Your APRs could increase if a payment is late.”  Well, the letter is always chock-ful of fun. 

    I’m sure the “important disclosures” brochure is also fun, but I can’t read it without a magnifying glass, and I never seem to have one of those handy when tearing up junk mail.