Customers, UPS Drivers Revolt Against Onslaught Of 17-Pound Restoration Hardware Catalogs

We would be shocked if there’s anyone in the world who actually wants 17 pounds’ worth of glossy Restoration Hardware catalogs. Since the doorstops first began hitting doorsteps back in May, though, more catalog recipients who value the environment and the lower backs of delivery personnel have been speaking out.


We learned from the New Yorker that a tiny anti-Restoration Hardware revolt has been slowly spreading. Most people sighed and tossed them out, and some people just tweeted about it before sending the catalogs off for recycling, but other responses were truly inspired.

Our favorite protest had to be the one in Palo Alto, California, where volunteers collected 2,000 pounds’ worth of the catalogs from the nearby towns of Woodside and Portola Valley and stacked them in front of the company’s store in Palo Alto. “They’re counting on people having really busy lives and not really thinking about it,” local environmental activist and new Consumerist hero Nancy Reyering told Palo Alto Weekly.

The magazine describes their delivery from the scene: store employees hauled off stacks of catalogs as quickly as they could, asking the volunteers to please deliver them to the back loading dock. What, and defeat the entire point of the protest? (Seriously, check out the photo slideshow of this protest. They built a catalog wall in front of the door.)

The catalogs were shipped via UPS. While Restoration Hardware boasted that it had purchased carbon offsets from UPS to make up for the miles driven to drop off the catalogs, it had failed to purchase back pain offsets and frustration offsets for employees stuck delivering the catalogs.

At least one nice thing came out of the catalog onslaight: people had a lot of fun finding ways to recycle the catalogs other than tossing them in the recycling bin, such as creating cat food stands and turning the glossy pages into pretty, glossy paper-bead jewelry.

Restoration Hardware’s Mail-Order Extravagance [New Yorker] (Thanks, Sylvia!)
10 Alternate Uses for the 17 Pound Restoration Hardware Catalog [Old Town Home]

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  1. DaveP says:

    I got one of these monstrosities a wile back even though I’ve never shopped at one of their stores or web site. It went straight into the recycle bin.

    • furiousd says:

      I was doing that with the phone books and unwanted local newspaper (I have no subscription, they just keep giving it to me) for several years until I started a compost pile.

  2. mjd74 says:

    I cut the mailing label off of mine, and then next time I was near a store I dropped it off on their counter. Plus, unsubscribed from any catalogs in the future.

  3. theoriginalcatastrophegirl says:

    a friend of mine just moved and he swiped a few of these off doorsteps in his building as packing materials. he has a truly impressive photo of the paper aftermath. i’m waiting to see if he will let me share the picture here.

    • theoriginalcatastrophegirl says:

      ok, so this is my friend and the remains of the restoration hardware catalogs that were delivered to the residents of one apartment building in boston that he crumpled up to pack with for his move
      he is 5′ 5″ and they measured the circumference at about 10′, compressed

      restoration hardware catalog

  4. charmander says:

    I don’t understand why they don’t have this catalog be by request only. That way, only the people who really want one will get one. They could send out a postcard announcing their new catalog, and if you want one delivered call or email or whatever. It seems like a no-brainer to me since they also had problems like this last year.

  5. GoldHillDave says:

    When I was a UPS driver (32 years) I wouldn’t have been phased by a 17 lb package. The 80 or 100 or 150 lb ones are the ones that cause the back pain. As for frustration, a package is a package – they get paid for delivering them! Pretty well, I might add, and deservedly so. As a stockholder I’m glad they used UPS but I don’t understand the decision, as Media Mail would be lots cheaper. I think sometimes companies believe that a UPS package will get more attention and therefore consider it worthwhile to spend the extra money.