It’s Hard To Stop The Catalogs

Deb gets a lot of a catalogs. Sometimes two of the same, as she and her husband have two different last names.

When two get forwarded from her old address, it can be as many as four of the same catalog.

Several months ago, she decided to spend call up all ten of the catalog companies and request removal. Of the ten, six are still sending catalogs, despite all of them agreeing to have her address removed in weeks.

Companies that removed their names:

• Company Store
• JJill
• Boden USA

Companies that did not remove their names:

• JCrew
• Tiffanys
• Anthropologie
• Pottery Barn
• Urban Outfitters
• Crate and Barrel

Beyond scribbling “Return To Sender” on ’em, what else can one do? There’s services like GreenDimes and 41pounds, but it’s ridiculous that consumers should have to pay to get removed from lists they didn’t agree to be on in the first place. Even registering for the “Do Not Contact” Direct Marketing Association list will cost you a dollar…

Deb writes:

    “My husband and I receive an utterly ridiculous amount of catalogs in the mail. There have been days where we have received even a dozen; a dozen glossy, wasteful, unrequested, heavy piles of excess — worse yet, repeats of the information on these companies’ websites — that go immediately into the trash without us cracking the cover. Even more irritating is that we have different last names so we often receive two copies of catalogs, and in a couple cases, four as two were forwarded from our old address, and two arrived at our new.

    (I should note that some of these are companies that we have done online shopping with but never, even once, from their print catalogs over the phone.)

    I’m not your prototypical environmentalist, but about six months ago I decided that if I could spend five minutes a day canceling these catalogs, I could probably save a landfill each year of our garbage alone. And while everyone laughed at my obsessiveness, I learned that companies have actually trained their customer service operators to know what to do to get your name removed from their mailings.

    It just doesn’t work. Of the ten companies I called before giving up, we are still receiving unending catalogs from SIX of them. Many told us it would take a few weeks for our names to be removed, but as it’s been six months, it’s clear that they were lying through their teeth.

    I know I should waste my energy on bigger things, but this annoys the crap out of me and I would love to see an example made of the piles of waste these companies create every day, against their customers clearly-stated wishes.

    Companies that removed our names:

    * Company Store
    * JJill
    * Boden USA

    Companies that did not:

    * JCrew
    * Tiffanys
    * Anthropologie
    * Pottery Barn (still sends catalogs to each of us)
    * Urban Outfitters
    * Crate and Barrel (still sends catalogs to each of us)”