Saturday Afternoon Musing

You even wonder how much better the environment would be doing without all the crap people mail you in order to entice you to get a credit card, take out a small loans, refinance student loans, apply to committees, or help fund organizations that somehow got your home address but not your phone number? Sure, the relative cost to the company sending the junk mail isn’t very high because paper is still pretty cheap and I’m guessing they’ve got some way to save on postage for bulk mailings because stamps are fairly cheap for inter-US mail, but that stuff has to add up eventually. The same thing applies for environmental impact. Sure, it is a lot easier to measure the impact of ten thousand sheets of paper instead of just the five that went into making the advert for a credit card with outrageous terms hidden deep inside the fine print, but it still adds up eventually. Especially when you take into account how often they send them.

Its like budgeting. Sure, finding a way to save five cents per day on something you’re paying for every day isn’t a whole lot, but that’s a dollar fifty in a month and a little over eighteen bucks a year. Over the decade I’m probably going to be paying off my student loans, that’s over one hundred eighty dollars. And that’s from a single five cents saved. Throw in the other dozen places I can do the same thing and suddenly that’s gone from one hundred eighty to almost two thousand, two hundred. One on its own doesn’t add up to much over time, but all together they do.

Given that a credit card company can send two thousand offers before it hits the magical ten thousand measurement mark, it seems like it’d take a lot of people to really make any kind of impact. But it isn’t just one per person. It’s two per person per month. Sure, the customer list is probably smaller than I think it us, but that’s twenty-four a year for me. suddenly, you only need eighty-four people to pass the measurement mark and I’m willing to bet there are at least that many people getting them in my neighborhood. Throw in the fact that I’ve got four loan companies, five credit card offers, three places I actually bank with/have loans with/had a credit card with at one point, and don’t forget all the places I have memberships that could be upgrade to include a credit card. In total, I probably get some fifty pieces of junk mail a month that I need to sort through for personal information, shred, and then dispose of, which all adds to the environmental toll. Suddenly, it’s starting to feel like I’ve dealing with ten thousand sheets of paper on my own. All without even getting into the “or current resident” crap that just goes straight into the recycling bin.

What a waste! The most frustrating part for me is that I’ve opted into the paperless option for every single one of my accounts and banks and service providers of every kind, but I still keep getting shit sent to me. It’s incredibly frustrating. I’m literally never going to do anything but dispose of this shit for me and nothing I’ve attempted to get them to stop has worked. I’m just going to keep getting this shit no matter where I go because there’s always someone new sending me junk mail as soon as I finally get one of the others to stop.

It just seems like such an inefficient, wasteful system whose only end is going to come when we all get neural uplinks and they can beam the credit card and personal loan offers directly into our brain. Except it probably won’t because junk mail also infects the internet and we still get it in our mailboxes as well. There’s no escape. We’re awash in a papery nightmare of unceasing advertisements for everything from solicitations for a local dentist’s office to a forms asking if we’d like to upgrade our credit card from platinum plan A to electrum plan B that gives us a slightly higher interested rate but also gives us an extra percent cash back on miscellaneous purchases that are almost never what we need to buy until right after the promotion has ended.

Capitalism in the US sucks a lot of the time, because people have found a way to use it that helps them succeed at the expense of either the environment or a bunch of other people, but this is a way that it sucks all of the time. It produces a ton of useless waste for no other reason than to grease the cogs of the money machine in order to turn an ever higher profit from quarter to quarter.

What a waste. I’m going to go for a walk in the sunlight now and calm down from this rant. Have a good day.