Ryn: Junk mail horror

A simple trek to the mailbox is often not so simple. Some days it seems you need a wheelbarrow to keep up with all the junk mail.

One of my frivolous fantasies is to collect all my junk mail for a month, shove it in a big package filled with dog doo and then mail it back to the folks who sent it to me in the first place.

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

I’ve yet to follow through.

Instead I do what I normally do, and sort out the 8 percent valid mail from the 92 percent junk. I then heap the junk mail into the makeshift recycling pile on the side of my fridge until it falls over and scares my dogs.

You’d think with all the hoopla about saving the environment some type of regulation, law or ban on junk mail would have already been passed.

Four of the biggest offenders are:

• Tucson Shopper. This little newspaper-like item gets merrily stuffed in my mailbox about once a week or so. It contains ads for businesses I’ll never need and coupons for items I’ll never want.

At least it’s printed on newsprint, an ideal medium to wash the mirrors and windows.

• Those coupons that come stuffed in an envelope. Unless you were chomping at the bit for personalized Mickey Mouse checks, a five-room steam carpet cleaning or a set of cheesy dishcloths, the coupons are rarely worth saving.

• Catalogs. Catalogs. And more catalogs. These especially stink because they are printed on slick paper that doesn’t even work to wash the mirrors and windows. I will also receive doubles, triples or even quadruples of identical catalogs, just in case I missed the first one.

Some catalogs are from stores from which I’ve ordered online, while others are for old matronly clothes and orthopedic shoes. Maybe they think I live with my grandmother.

And I still don’t know how I got on Frederick’s of Hollywood’s mailing list.

• Bradford Exchange. This joint specializes in limited edition commemorative plates, girly-girl, dressed-up dolls and, as I ordered, items like a “hand-carved” tomahawk made out of plastic even though it looked like wood in the photo.

“Actual size of item larger than pictured” is one of the company’s key phrases. But the folks don’t tell you the item is much more hideous, as well.

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Once you order even a single ugly item and they have your address, you will receive junk mail from them every other day encouraging you to order more ugly items. I don’t even open it any more.

The only junk mail with some redeeming qualities comes from animal organizations.

Not only is it a beneficial cause, but it usually comes with polar bear or toucan return address stickers, which you can keep even if you don’t send them money.

Half the time the stickers say “Mr. Ryn Gargulinski,” but we can always blot out the “Mr.” part with a Sharpie marker.

While I pride myself in often finding uses for even the most seemingly useless stuff, I’ve yet to find a use for junk mail.

It’s not durable enough for yard art, not fetching enough for wallpaper and not absorbent enough to line the rat cage.

The only option is to keep piling it up into that ever-growing recycling pile. Or perhaps finally following through on my fantasy and marking it “Return to Sender.”

Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and TucsonCitizen.com Ryngmaster who wishes she had a nickel for every piece of junk mail she has ever received so she could retire and move to France. Listen to a preview of her column at 8:10 a.m. Thursdays on KLPX 96.1 FM. Listen to her webcast at 4 p.m. Fridays at www.Party934.com. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. E-mail rynski@tucsoncitizen.com


Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Have you found a creative use for junk mail?

Which junk mail irks you the most?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at ryngargulinski.com.
This entry was posted in danger, environment, gross stuff, life, Rynski Column, Stupidity and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Ryn: Junk mail horror

  1. radmax says:

    I receive a notice about every other day that unless I ‘act now‘, the warranty on my vehicle will expire. Pretty darn alaming news, since I haven’t bought a new car since the 80’s and drive a company vehicle! I hear you can stop some of this crap by contacting the post office-might be worth a try. Oh, mornin’ Rynski!

  2. Rynski says:

    Mornin’ RadMax – love your ever-changing avatar. Thanks also for the post office tip. It is, however, easier to complain about it than call them. Hahaha. Yes, I, too, have gotten notices that my car warranty will expire, my refrigerator warranty will expire, my gas grill warranty will expire (although I have no gas grill), and that my head will explode unless I ACT NOW.

  3. azmouse says:

    I’ve learned to love junk mail. The coupons that come in envelopes (I think it’s called ‘cactus clippers’ or something) sometimes have the people’s pictures on the coupons, that work there. There’s always one of a certain hair salon. Let’s just say that sometimes you might be shooting yourself in the foot by putting your pics on the coupon to get people to come in. I won’t say more, since I would never want to be mean…

    I will admit, being the animal lover I am, I do look through the shopper because they have pets that are lost and I want to keep my eyes open to try and help reunite a pet and owner. I also look at the ‘crime stopper’ picture to make sure it’s not me! KIDDING. I look to see what their crime is, why they’re wanted and if I know them, and then I read the restaurant review.

  4. Romeo says:

    I keep getting postcards from the city clerks office telling me to report for jury duty. I keep throwing them away but they keep sending them. Maybe I should go down there in person and request them to stop sending them to me. I also got a picture of myself running a red light, how weird is that?

    • radmax says:

      Hey Romeo, I got a buddy who sent a photocopy of a check to pay his ticket, thought it was pretty funny. They sent him back a pic of a set of handcuffs, he paid the ticket….

      • Romeo says:

        Those rat bastids will never take me alive! USS Iowa, huh? One of the Westpacs I did was with the Iowa (they were in our battle group, USS Carl Vincent, USS Ranger) at least I’m pretty sure it was the Iowa, either way those 16 inchers were AWESOME when they fired them during an exersize!

      • radmax says:

        Ain’t they! Reason I joined. Got what I wanted too, FT on the New Jersey for a while. Got to blow the Hell out of ‘true believers’ in’84, after they bombed the marine barracks-killed over two hundred of our finest. No regrets then, sometimes now. Go Navy! I’ll have a pic monday.

  5. radmax says:

    I’m bringin’ out the big guns today Rynski.  🙂 That is the USS Iowa blastin’ the daylights out of North Korea in the last war, premonition? Go Navy! 

  6. Rynski says:

    Thank you, all, for enlightening me about junk mail. AZMouse, I will keep it in mind to look at the coupons as comedy. I like that!
    And it seems the Tucson Shopper has more than I know about, prob. because I never open it (haha).
    Romeo – whenever I get those jury things, I just move. I thought THAT is what you’re supposed to do with them, no?
    RadMax – very funny on the handcuffs…and yes, that surely is a big guns photo if I’ve ever seen one.

  7. westiewest says:

    After Christmas, some years ago, I received 23 catalogues, some of which I had never heard of.  I don’t know where they all came from!  Tired of it all, I took the time to write a letter to each catalog, taping my address from the catalog to the letter, and asked to be removed from their mailing list and any list they shared, etc.  It took about 6 months, but I now rarely receive a catalog and as much as I might want something, I don’t order it.  I don’t want that deluge again!!!!!!!!  I also contacted Direct Mail with a letter.  The regular junk mail, like the Wednesday and Thursday bunch,  just goes in the recycle bin.  I don’t even look at it.

  8. Rynski says:

    THIS JUST IN – Junk mail tip e-mailed from reader: She says to leave the junk mail unopened and write “deceased” with an arrow to your address then send it back to whomever sent it.
    I may try that with Bradford Exchange.
    She also said to get rid of unwanted phone calls by dialing 56 after the call and then hanging up.
    I’ve not tried these myself, but wanted to pass them along in case anyone wants to try it.
    Westiewest’s strategy also seemed to work. Thanks both.

  9. A.Farley says:

    I can’t stop laughing, We have a burn barrel at the end of our rural delivery row of mailboxes which also serves as a school bus stop. This way the junk mail keeps the kids warm on those chilly winter mornings.

  10. Debra says:

    Great article Ryn. One thing I do with junk mail is just open it, put t a big black line through the order form and mail it back if it came with a prepaid envelope. It took me about two and half years but the companies finally got the message and I get little to no junk mail with the exception of a couple of local mailings who somehow get my address occasionally.  Another way to do it to click online for email statements from your credit card companies. It saves trees. When I get an unwanted catalogue I use the  for my collage and artwork. THanks for the article.

  11. Rynski says:

    Thank YOU, Debra, for your comments and input. I like that prepaid envelope strategy. May try that one, too. I’ve been thinking about the writing “deceased” when you aren’t, and it’s kind of creepy. But then again, I like creepy.
    Glad you could find uses in your art for the catalogs, too. Good idea.

  12. Pingback: classifieds coupon

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