Dell Won't Stop Sending Me Catalogs So I'm Burning Them

Even though I have asked them several times and waited several months, Dell won’t stop sending me catalogs, so I’m burning them. Every other company that sends me catalogs that I’ve requested to be removed from their mailing list has done it. I have called customer service on two different occasions and requested to be removed. I have gone to the special website on the back of the catalogs and requested to be removed. I have done this for both the sets of names and addresses they have on file for me. They don’t care. I tried to be nice but obviously that doesn’t work. So burn, baby, burn. It may not stop the mailings, but I felt better afterwards. Another image of Dell catalog immolation, inside…

In addition, I used to receive catalogs from Dell Home and Home Office but they honored my unsubscribe requests. Obviously whoever is running the small biz catalogs is not doing their job right. It’s my hope that this series of beautiful and seemingly childish gestures might possibly prompt Dell to investigate the matter. If it results people’s unsubscribe requests actually get honored, then I will have saved more trees by burning this catalog then if I recycled it. It’s just a hunch, but somehow I don’t think simply placing the catalog in the recycle bin will have the same effect as my direct marketing pyre.dellfire 002

dellfire 005

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dellfire 021

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Edit Your Comment

  1. Kat@Work says:

    Whatever makes you feel better, I guess. I just wouldn’t want to have to clean your stove, LOL.

  2. B says:

    This doesn’t seem like a very good idea. I would suggest burning them outside, at least. That way you’re not inhaling the fumes, plus there’s less risk of burning your house down.

  3. ivanthemute says:

    Beautiful! The flames, the flames! Eat, my beautiful hungry children! Eat all of Dell’s demise!

  4. Dibbler says:

    Why is this a story? So they keep sending you crap… Throw it away and stop making a huge issue out of nothing.

  5. DeeJayQueue says:

    good luck not getting cancer by burning the oil-based ink and varnish that those things are covered with, not to mention what the paper is made out of. maybe it feels better to burn them than to shred them but at least you won’t get some lung disease from it.

  6. clayfree says:

    Burning it on your stove top is priceless but what’s you mon gonna say when she gets home. You must not have to clean or pay for appliances.

  7. Ben Popken says:

    The fumes were delicious.

  8. stephenjames716 says:


  9. Buran says:

    @Dibbler: I recycle my junk mail, not throw it away. But there’s psychological satisfaction to be gained from burning junk that just won’t stop.

    Why not fill a whole (metal) trash can with dell catalogs, then burn them all at once? (be sure to do this where it’s not illegal to burn trash). Film the whole thing. Put it on youtube or some other video sharing site. EECB Dell execs with a link to the video in the message.

  10. bravo369 says:

    @Dibbler: I bet he’s just trying to make a point in the hopes that someone from Dell reads this site and they can do something about the mailers.

    I get these all the time too even though i never buy anything. I just use it as a rough price estimate when new products/features hit the market.

  11. EmperorOfCanada says:

    They keep sending you material so instead of recycling it you burn it. You sure told them…

  12. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    How about recycling them instead? Or just write “Return To Sender”.

  13. Adposs says:

    Next on the Consumerist: General Electric’s faulty stove gave me cancer! Should I email the CEO or just skip straight to small claims court? Perhaps a strongly worded complaint to the BBB is in order?

  14. crabbyman6 says:

    Take that Dell, I’m not recycling AND releasing toxic fumes in my home! HA-HA! Maybe he’s setting them up for a lawsuit in 30 years.

  15. Beerad says:

    Are you kidding, Ben? You just dump them on your gas stove and turn the burners on? I can see the headline now: “Popular blog editor’s neighbors found dead after inhaling toxic fumes — apartment building is ‘taking it very seriously'”

  16. RandoX says:

    I enjoy shredding credit card offers and mailing them back in the prepaid business reply envelopes.

  17. Moosehawk says:

    Some people need to lighten up. If the story doesn’t interest you, don’t read it or comment. It’s not like this one took more than a minute to look at…

    When you burned them, did demons come flying, screeching out of the flames in pain and agony? Have you tried just pouring holy water on the catalogs?

  18. chemmy says:

    Return to sender.

    And ditto on mailing back the shredded credit card offers.

  19. Ben Popken says:

    The windows were open. I know how to play with fire. It’s obvious from the comments that this post is a big hit so I will bow to your demands and upload even more pictures.

  20. opticnrv says:

    What you REALLY need to do is video tape yourself burning Dell catalogues and post it on YouTube. I’m sure Dell does not want video of their catalogues burning up on the internet. It should get their attention and fix your problem.

  21. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I want to do this with all the coupon crap I get in the mail but I would want to get a permit to do it so that I could burn them outside of the Post Office.

  22. Landru says:

    I’ll bet you are on a media mailing list and not on a customer list.

  23. Rufdawg says:

    @Ben Popken: You are likely violating your state’s open burning rules. In general, states prohibit the burning of anything manmade, including paper catalogues. While you might fall under some states’ exception for “ceremonial purposes”, depending on the jurisdiction, civil penalities could amount to anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars per violation. Of course, you have to get caught by an air quality inspector…

  24. lincolnparadox says:

    Why not take the postage-paid reply cards from Dell, repackage all of the catalogs that you received, tape the card to the box and ship?

    Be sure to rip the back page of the catalog off, though. You know, the part with your name and address.

  25. arch05 says:

    Way to fuck up a nice stove. And your lungs.

  26. Nissan288 says:

    you realize that the first person to develop fire resistant and crumple resistant paper ads will be a millionaire overnight…

  27. magus_melchior says:

    Lesson for Dell: Don’t contract with a marketing troll.

  28. DomZ says:

    Just recycle it and call it a day. No need to make a “look at me!!” video burning the catalogs.

  29. consumersaur says:


    Uh, thanks dad.

  30. KenSPT says:

    Yes, because receiving one catalog a month is such a HORRIBLE inconvenience … moron …

  31. SkokieGuy says:

    Perhaps you’d like to join Dell’s Green Grid

    Feb. 27, 2007
    Yesterday, a new organization called The Green Grid announced the completion of the consortium’s formation and issued a call for members. The Green Grid is a global consortium dedicated to developing and promoting energy efficiency for data centers and information services. ……We’re proud to be among the founding members of the organization and I wanted to share this news in because we know how important the issue of energy-efficiency has become in the IT industry.

    From: []

  32. Ben Popken says:

    @KenSPT: Two catalogs, actually, thanks.

  33. says:

    @Landru: Regardless, Dell should be able to take a name off the list. 99% of other companies are capable of doing it.

    Hickory Farms won’t take my email address off their mailing list, despite 7 requests through various channels, so I wrote a (snail mail) letter to them explaining that they are quite rude and will never get my business again. I didn’t want to burn my computer, though, so I just route the messages straight to delete :)

  34. wring says:

    uh, ok. My grandma likes burning stuff too.

  35. yesteryear says:

    brilliant! this is like that scene in ‘how stella got her groove back’…where angela basset lights her ex husbands stuff on fire in the driveway… except you’re a white guy, and it was two dell catalogues, and it was in your kitchen. but still. very powerful stuff.

    seriously though – i think this is really funny in an absurdist way. nice.

  36. Ben Popken says:

    @Rufdawg: I’ll make sure to not let any “air quality inspectors” in my house for the next hour or so until the smell clears.

  37. Milstar says:

    what’s really weird is that I have purchased many many many items from dell and have never got a catalog sent to me in the last 4 yrs.

  38. warf0x0r says:

    Might I suggest simply calling them one more time and telling them that because they haven’t listened to your demands your now persuading family members not to buy their products.

    If you can force just one person to shop else where that’s money they will never recoup from sending you mailers.

    Do an EECB and include a picture of someones new non-Dell PC purchase.

  39. linedpaper says:

    save the ashes of every single dell catalog you burn and then mail it back to them once it’s full with some pictures and a letter!

  40. linedpaper says:

    mail the ashes back to them!

  41. eabu says:

    It’s nice to see the DELL logo burn. I have tried to get rid of DELL catalogs for 2.5 years. Kudos for bad publicity towards DELL incompetence/ignorance/deception.

  42. SomeoneGNU says:

    Don’t stop there! Set your house on fire then sue Dell for the damages. Then sue the people who built your house for not making it flame resistant! Then sue your neighbors to not saving your house!


  43. Moosehawk says:

    @linedpaper: In a vase. With a label on it that says Go To Hell, Dell.

  44. cashmerewhore says:

    Lame story. God forbid you recycle them, or reuse them as packing material for the stuff you guys are always selling on eBay.

  45. AMetamorphosis says:

    … and this stops the mailers from coming how ?

  46. Deivion says:

    Good job, your keeping the woodcutting industry going by burning paper instead of recycling them.

  47. AMetamorphosis says:


    Take prepaid mailers and stuff them with every other piece of junk mail you can find and mail them back.

    For further fun, DON’T remove your name or address and wait till they contact you.

    I’ve gotten off of several junk mail lists this way.

  48. jumbobrave says:

    Why would you burn something like that in your kitchen? Do it properly, for goodness sake. And doesn’t this guy have working smoke detectors in his house?

  49. Osi says:

    Reply to sender does not work as mail carriers are generally retarded. This cannot be considered mail fraud because they are not charging you for anything.

    If the post office will not do their job, then take both the PO and Dell to court after you sent certified letters to both businesses.

  50. prameta1 says:

    could you elaborate a little further on how burning all of those catalogs on your own kitchen stove helps anything? i really don’t get this kind of behaviour. burning catalogs, smashing your macbook on youtube, what does that accomplish? then again, the kid on youtube got apple’s attention and got a new macbook. maybe dell will end up shipping you nicer catalogs.

  51. WV.Hillbilly says:

    Return to sender does not work with bulk mail, which is how most catalogs are sent.
    Go get a USPS form 1500. This is for stopping obscene mail.
    Whatever YOU determine is obscene to you. The postal goons don’t have any say here..
    Take the completed form and the catalogs to your PO and they will issue a prohibitive order.

  52. sgodun says:

    Dell has also been harassing me for the better part of a decade with their catalogs. I randomly harass them in return when this happens. Some things I’ve pulled:

    — I’ve called them and asked for my free computer. When the person on the phone doesn’t know what I’m talking about, I explain that for the past few months I’ve been asking Dell to remove me from their mailing list but Dell keeps sending me catalogs, so I can only assume that it means Dell wants to give me a gift of a free computer in exchange for all the junk mail. One time I had this going on for nearly two weeks, including one phone call (on Dell’s dime) that was nearly an hour and a half long. Ultimately I didn’t get the computer, but the catalogs stopped – for a couple of months, anyway.

    — I made up a bunch of labels that had the same look and feel of the Dell catalog. I addressed them to various Dell CEOs, carefully stuck them to the catalog over my address, and put them back in the mailbox.

    — I once collected no fewer than 24 Dell catalogs, all addressed to me, in the space of one month. I gift wrapped them, put them in a box (along with a note telling them to remove me from their list), then called Dell and pretended to be an extremely irate customer who wanted his Dell laptop fixed NOW. After some heated argument Dell sent me a postage-paid laptop mailer. I put their gift box inside of it and shipped it back to Dell. That one was good for almost a solid Dell-free year.

    These days just about all I do when I get a Dell catalog — about twice a month — is stamp it “RETURN TO SENDER” (yes, I have a rubber stamp for this) and drop it back in the mailbox. My mailman tells me that he often delivers as many as seven Dell catalogs to the same person at the same time, and it really pisses him off.

  53. strife1012 says:

    You know its Dells policy to Have a paperless environment? How do these Ads go toward this policy. I have been told by Dell Employees that if 1 person prints out more than 50 pages, they have to talk to their supervisor on why they are using so much paper.

  54. bsalamon says:

    i hope that stove wasn’t bought at best buy, otherwise you may have voided your warranty

  55. pibbsman0 says:

    @bsalamon: Depends, would that be considered normal wear and tear?

  56. arcticJKL says:

    When I coulndt get a company to stop sending me their catalog I finally called up and let them know of my ‘change of address’ and how they had been misspelling my name for a while. They happily changed my address and name.

    The catalog now goes to the local post office.

  57. greensmurf says:

    Dont throw it away, recycle!!! Hey I bought a 3k computer from them and I dont get catalogs. :Shrug:

  58. uberbucket says:

    Pretty pictures does not a story make.

    “Dell Won’t Stop Sending Me Catalogs So I’m Burning Them” Faaaacinating.

  59. alynnk says:

    Might be the time to check out — it’s free and covers a ton of retailers who [at least say they’re going to] comply with opt-out requests — including Dell.

  60. alynnk says:
  61. framitz says:

    So intellegent. You don’t want the catalogs so you BURN them.
    Why not trash or even better recycle them and save a tree or two.

  62. Anjow says:

    I’ve had loads of trouble getting them to stop sending me crap. There was no details of who to contact to get removed from their list so I spent over an hour talking to Indian callcentres who kept asking for my purchase ID even when I was telling them I’d never bought anything. One of the most frustrating experiences yet.

    …And they still send them.

  63. BryantatDell says:

    Hi –I work at Dell on environment and corporate responsibility issues — I can tell this topic struck a nerve – understandably – and figured I’d dive into the fray in an attempt to help.

    First to Ben – can tell you have been through the wringer already – if you can reach out to me privately with details on address and such, I’ll be happy to reach out to our small business marketing team to see if I can help (from the photos looks like those are the catalogues you are receiving).

    And to everyone — best way to get removed from the mailing lists is online — -if you have a My Account at and log in – on the left column there is a link to “subscriptions” under “my account preferences” where you can set your preferences for mail and email.

    alternatively, you can go to – and there is a link in the left column to set your contact preferences for mail and email.

    And yes, frustrating as it can be, would recommend recycling unwanted mail vs. burning it.

    I hope that helps

  64. AMetamorphosis says:


    1. WOW, you can identify your own marketing materials … whoopie …

    2. Nice to see you will privately help Ben … wish your company had this same sentiment for all Consumerist readers …

    3. Never had a “My Account” @ Dell … never will.

    4. Why would any of us go to a DELL website an voluntarily give you any further information ?

    5. How about a phone number with a HUMAN ?

    No, your post didn’t help … it sounds like the canned responses every other marketing “team” tells me …


  65. Phishy says:

    ^— Ben:
    Oh snap. You even got a Dell person to sign up and leave a comment.

    Muchos gracias for the assistance. Certainly takes initiative to post in the enemies cave. Wish more companies would actually try and stamp out the fire from the source! (no pun intended of course :P )

  66. Ben Popken says:

    @BryantatDell: I used at least twice, but it didn’t change anything. And yes, I selected “Small Business” and not “Home and Home Office.”

    I’ve also recycled many a Dell catalog in my day but that didn’t seem to stop them either. Not sending them to me in the first place is probably the most environmentally-friendly solution.

    That said, Bryant, email me and I’ll give you my address and together we can make my catalog-stopping dream a reality.

  67. fuzzymuffins says:

    i have a wood stove… so i am an equal opportunity catalog burner.. they all go!

    but any company stupid enough to solicit me with a pre-paid return envelope… gets the entire contents of their mailing sent back to them (and sometimes a bit of extra trash) . i’ve been doing this for 20 years.

  68. BryantatDell says:

    AMetamorphosis: Fair enough re passing on information directly to us – two other potential routes are:

    The Direct Marketing Association manages “do-not-mail” lists — if you go to – there is a blue box for consumers in the lower left corner. Full disclosure – DMA is a trade association that companies which use direct mail belong to – but any reliable marketer (including Dell) will scrub lists against the DMA do not mail lists regularly.

    Or – there are some non-profits that can help you reduce junk mail — one I’ve talked to before is called 41 pounds ( )(estimates are that the average American adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail a year hence the name). This group will contact direct marketers on your behalf once you join. there is a cost -a 5 year membership costs $41, but they will donate 1/3 of that to the environmental non-profit of your choice (and of course do the work for you of getting off lists).

    one other thought -more about excess direct mail in general than Dell catalogues – personally I’ve tried writing to magazines with which I have a subscription asking them not to share my contact info and that seems to help cut extra mail. Often the magazines will let you do it online.

  69. AMetamorphosis says:


    How ’bout you just include a pre-paid envelope with those catalogs?

    You’re completely missing the point.
    No ONE should have to jump through these many hoops just to stop receiving solicitations.

    The impact DELL leaves is not only enviromental but insures I won’t buy DELL products.

    Is that so hard to understand ?

  70. Oface says:

    @sgodun: you’re my hero.

  71. Oface says:

    Dell computers aren’t that great anyway. I have 2 (gifts) and curse them daily.

  72. MotherFury says: DOES work, mostly. Every time I login into my account there I am slightly amused and annoyed when I see that out of the 2 dozen catalogs submitted, only Fossil REFUSED (in bright red letters) to take me off their list. Well fffff-FINE. As Kathy Griffin would say, suck it, Fossil.

  73. forgottenpassword says:

    I remember a newpiece once about a guy who burned all the junk mail & catalogs he got in a woodstove to help heat his home.

  74. jmschn says:

    LoL did you live in the boonies where you burn things for heat?? what’s the point of burning those catalogues…weirdo..

  75. consumerd says:

    if you are not up to it and don’t like the magazines, donate them to a local boy scout troop that goes camping. Reason being? because when I was in scouts I would have loved to had some scrap paper to use as a wick to start a campfire and something like this would be fantastic for that job.

    Trust me the boy scouts would appreciate the “kindling”

    I know this scout will :)

  76. Citizen Snips says:

    @RandoX: GENIUS!

  77. balls187 says:

    My guess, you’re a renter and don’t give a damn about other people’s property…

    Glad your retard ass doesn’t live in my neighborhood.

    “I know how to play with fire.” Then you should know not to burn things on a gas stove, numbnuts.

  78. Ben Popken says:

    Somehow my stove managed to escape being damaged by scraps of burning paper and I have restored it to a pristine status. Thanks for your concern. That was definitely the most important thing about this post, what was going to happen to the stove.

  79. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for keeping me working! As my Chief says: “If it wasn’t for stupid people we would be out of a job.”

    Once again, Thanks for the overtime!

  80. billybastion says:

    @Ben Popken: what WAS the important thing about this post?

    That you had to meet your post count? That you for some reason can’t handle 2 extra pieces of mail a month? That you are hoping to go on television again but are sad you haven’t in a while? That you hate the earth and thus declined to recycle?

  81. Ben Popken says:

    @billybastion: Reading the post before commenting is usually a good idea.

    It’s my hope that this series of beautiful and seemingly childish gestures will prompt Dell to investigate the matter. If it results people’s unsubscribe requests actually get honored, then I will have saved more trees by burning this catalog then if I recycled it.

  82. sam1am says:

    More pics please!

  83. Atomu says:

    this is great! i used to have to work on those damn catalogs and they wont stop sending them to me either! i’ve been collecting them all for the shooting range and will share the pictures once i have them!

  84. snowpuff says:

    After asking to be taken off many catalogs, I eventually seem to have landed on a marketing list of people who don’t want catalogs. It took awhile, but I never ever get catalogs anymore.

  85. Comeaja says:

    Nah, see, what he should have done is saved like, every catalog he recived for a long time, set up a giant display of lots and lots of catalogs, on a wooden stand. Coat that sucker in gasoline, and just light it up. Tape it and send it to Executive customer service.

  86. Blackneto says:

    see now i found a sure fire way to keep from receiving dell catalogs.
    I just buy a few computers from them every month.

    if I miss 2 months i start getting catalog’s.

    It’s not rocket science Ben. Just buy more computers.

    Note that I usually buy to resale to customers that need me to do it for them.
    your circumstances may vary…

  87. sam says:

    Well, now that’s a productive use of your time.

  88. scoosdad says:

    @Ben Popken:

    That said, Bryant, email me and I’ll give you my address and together we can make my catalog-stopping dream a reality.

    And then in true Consumerist fashion, you’ll publish this Dell dude’s email address and phone number here for the unwashed masses to use.

  89. DellHell says:

    In my office I get usually every month 15 catalogs – enough for everyone including temps. I’m still getting their crap for people who left/fired/quit over 2yrs ago – tried getting the post man to take it back, he just pointed to current resident label and walked away. Couldn’t unsubscribe online or via phone in. So is this why they asked us to donate $$ for all the trees they used to make extra catalogs??? Green PC maker my ass!! Mr. Dell you better be reading this and take note.

  90. richtaur says:

    I just can’t get into this, sorry. If the worst thing a company does is send you too much mail, you… well who cares I guess.

  91. chocxtc says:

    @Comeaja: Nowadays this seems to be one of the most effective methods for getting your point across. Video it and post it on google video, youtube, as well as your myspace or facebook for all to see.

  92. MisterE says:

    @arcticJKL: Nice! I’m going to use this one! Whenever a retailer requires a phone number, I given them a local telemarketers phone number.

    Even better, check out [] for a list of possible phone numbers to give when a retailer “requires” one.

  93. Daan says:

    Tell me about it. I work for the Dutch postal service, and whenever Dell decides sends their latest catalogs we usually end up returning at least 20% of the catalogs they’ve attempted to mail – and that excludes the amount of catalogs burnt or returned to the sender by the recipients ;)

    They’ll happily send catalogs to people who died years ago, to companies that have long gone bankrupt, or to companies that have moved (yes, they’ve deliberately chosen to ignore the change of address forms people can fill out). The most amazing thing about this is that the notes that explain why we’re returning the piece of mail as undeliverable are *invariably* ripped off, and they’ll just try to mail the same catalogs to the same recipients a few days later. We tend to bin the catalogs at this point, as it’s obvious that Dell’s mailing department is a bunch of nitwits – if we’ve already told you the entire neighbourhood has been demolished, chances are we still won’t be able to deliver it a few days later!!

  94. iaintgoingthere says:

    FIRE!! FIRE!! FIRE!!

  95. Mish says:

    I rip them in half or more before I throw them away so no one else can use them. Dell SUCKS.

  96. luz says:

    Come on guys. The ELF and I agree that burning stuff is fun.

  97. painfullyblunt says:

    Most amusing.

    I had the same problem with Dell so I decided to X out my address & info and put to foward it to their corporate HQ. I’ve done that with a few other annoying catalogs and voila, haven’t gotten any more catalogs from said companies after that.

  98. Painisbetter says:

    Dont get mad send the catalogs to the other snail mail spammers companies in the return envelope or RTS. Its more fun than getting mad.