I’m not a tree-hugging granola or anything, but it took me almost 10 minutes to shred all of the junk mail credit card offers I received in the mail a few days ago, and it leaves me to wonder how many trees we kill every year in the name of the precious dollar.
One of my journalism professors told me that no one knows their target audience better than direct mailers. The sad thing is that we have to open this stuff. We can avoid telemarketers by using the Do-Not-Call-List. We can use spam filters to catch junk email, and pop-up blockers on our browsers to miss annoying ads from websites. But unsolicited mail we have no choice but to open in order to protect ourselves from identity theft by shredding. Of course, the font sizes and layout are amazingly attractive to the eye, catching our attention and forcing that split-second decision: look and be sucked in, or toss it.
I take small consolation in the fact that some of the contents of these mailings are generic and can at least be recycled (wait, that sounded granola, didn’t it?). But I have to wonder if any amount of revenue generated by these mailings (typically in the form of endebting us to predatory credit cards) can justify the damage we do to our environment, or the wasted time and energy out of our lives?
And those who do take the offers end up further in debt to teaser offers, contributing to the perpetual debt that has placed our economy in the mess it is in. Worth it?
Personally, I don’t think it adds up.