Atlas Shrugged Junk Mail

God bless our obsessive-compulsive readership. Without you guys, we wouldn’t have entertaining MP3s of foul-mouthed CSRs cursing your mother, let alone an answer to the question “how much junk mail does our average reader get in 9 months?”

The answer, courtesy of Carl? Living with his lovely wife and two children in their home in suburban Denver, he has received 170 pounds worth of junk mail since the beginning of the year.

We envision a world where someone comes up with a spam filter for your front mail slot. Perhaps a twitching Swedish Murder Machine who begins dangerously twitching as soon as the mailman walks up the path. Carl’s breakdown, after the jump.

I had to smile at the story you posted recently about junk mail awareness week. Apparently some woman has been keeping all the catalogs she received and weighing them. The average person might say, “she needs to get a life.” I can’t imagine what they’d say about me. I decided this year to not only save the junk mail, I’ve actually counted, categorized, and weighed each piece of mail received at my household. I did this because last December I noticed I was throwing away the vast majority of mail I received. So in 2006, I decided to find out just how much.

My household consists of me, my wife, and two children age 6 and 3. We live in suburban Denver. Apparently we are right in the prime demographic to receive junk mail. Here are the raw, astonishing statistics, through September 30:

• Total mail received: 2,303 pieces weighing a total 290 pounds

• Junk mail received: 1,522 pieces for 170 pounds. That is 66% of total volume and 59% of total weight.

• The worst offender is catalogs. We have received 434 junk catalogs, accounting for 19% of our total volume and 37% of our total weight. That’s 106 pounds of junk catalogs. An average of 2 catalogs per day right to the trash. That’s my definition of junk, anyway–I throw it right away upon receiving it.

• We have received 270 credit card or mortgage refinance offers, all of it unsolicited junk. Total weight over 13 pounds.

• By contrast, we received only 147 personal letters or so far, for a scant ten pounds. The vast majority of that is cards and gifts for our kids sent by Grandma. In fact, I can only find two people under the age of 50 that have sent us a letter in the mail. Interesting.

• Coupons account for 264 pieces and 15 pounds.

• We do get plenty of legit mail, such as bills and magazines we’ve ordered. But even the heavy magazines account for just over 75 total pounds. And as for the bills and other “official” pieces, they add up to 17 pounds of fun. You know, the fun of mutual fund prospecti, health insurance statements, and other things easily sent by email.

Keep in mind these statistics are only for mail received through September. The holiday catalog season is coming up, and it is conceivable our household could see a quarter-ton of mail pass through our humble aluminum mail box in a year’s time. And what the catalog producers should know is that I do on occasion order from their clients. But always over their web sites, never by phone. And for this I should be punished with hundreds of pounds of useless catalogs? Why? Why?!