Originally published @February 1, 2018
This past Saturday, for what felt like at least the fifth time this year, I opened my mailbox to find it empty save for a small USPS slip indicating that my mailbox had become too small for the growing mix of welcome correspondence and unwanted junk mail.
Junk mail, as it's been cutely dubbed, has plagued me since I first moved out of my parents' house and into my own place. From the time I accidentally threw away a letter from Elizabeth that was lodged in between worthless Money Mailers, the idealist in me has struggled to accept the unimaginable waste that junk mail produces each year. (link) In reality, it's a massive problem with potentially easy solutions.
In my experience, most of this waste has consisted of redundant credit card offers from various companies. Once I learned how to remove myself from these lists for life (link) the problem was reduced by a good margin, but I still see a largely unnecessary volume of retail ads and other unwanted content.
During my most recent trip to the post office to reclaim my bundle of straight-to-garbage mail, I took the opportunity to ask the mail clerk about his opinion on junk mail and how it could be reduced. What he shared with me caught me by surprise.
"Junk mail's our lifeblood," he explained. "Without it, the postal service simply could not operate."
What he meant was that businesses that advertise by mail pay the postal service to send out their ads, just like we consumers pay postage to send letters. Sure, I thought, these days it's all about the money. But as a professional problem solver, it's my job to ask "what if?"
So, what if there was a way for people like me to fund the postal service and avoid being plagued by unwanted junk mail ?
For consumers who are tired of junk mail overflowing their mailbox, tired of making unnecessary trips to the post office to reclaim overgrown bundles of mail consisting mostly of ads and other unwanted, tired of the waste this societal bad habit produces—I present the USPS Pro Service™:
- Never receive mail addressed “To our neighbors at” or “Current resident”
- Only receive the types of mail you desire:
- Addressed to you directly
- Addressed to specific people you list in your account
Wouldn’t this be great?