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I was driving through Louisiana a few months ago and heard a talk radio discussion about revenge. During the segment a man called in to share his story of revenge on junk mail, specifically, credit card offers that some of us seem to receive daily. It's fun and it could even stop all of that mail!

Here is how it works.

With almost every credit card offer you will also receive a self addressed return stamp envelope (SASO) so that you can easily apply for their card. You do not have to pay postage. They do. So, you load that envelope with whatever you can find that is:

1.Legal to mail. Please obey the law, of course.
2.Has no identifying information. No need increasing the risk of ID theft.
3.Will not hurt the people who have to open this stuff. The point is not the make their job harder, but to make the companies pay for the inconvenience to you and to use their own scam to do it.
4.Potentially educational. Sometimes I receive political or religious stuff to which I object. I like to use those SASOs to send them back information on abortion rights.
5.The bigger the better. Use tape if you have to. I think they not only pay more for weight but also bulk. Not being an expert on bulk mail or credit card company operations, I could be wrong.

Don't spend too much time at it and only do it if it brings a measure of satisfaction. I can't guarantee it will stop the offers - it's really just for fun. However, my dad says he did it and after about six months the offers stopped. Unfortunately, that's about as credible as the "guy" who shared the idea on the radio.  

If anyone can debunk this sweet means of revenge, please do so gently. I would be sad to lose my revenge on companies who prey on the poor, deceive their customers, enable ID theft (partly by sending those damn offers) and then want you to pay extra to "protect" your account. If anyone works in the mail room of a credit card company and thinks this is hurting them personally, please let me know.

If you take this away from me though, please be prepared to provide me with alternate sources of fun revenge. If, however, you plan on just saying nasty things about wasting my time doing stupid stuff like this I say, with love, stop reading this because you're right, you're wasting your time. I also say, I do a ton of other "productive" stuff but also need a nice outlet for some pent up sassiness. If you don't, you are a better person than I.

Originally posted to sassy texan on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:07 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  serious question (none)
    Can I tape the envelope to a box of bricks or other object?
  •  or... (none)
    ...maybe try paper from your home shredder. If you pack it in, I think an automatic slitter opens the return mail and all the shred debris that might pop out might mess up their machine...OK, back to more productive stuff, like plastic wrapping toilets in the Pentagon...

    "I have come here to chew bubble gum and to kick ass...and I'm all out of bubble gum. Oh -- have you read the Downing Street Minutes yet?"

    by Newton Snookers on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:39:16 AM PDT

  •  Or... (none)
    You could just go to this site, and remove your name from the Direct Marketing Association database.

    My wife did ours and both of our families, and it has significantly, SIGNIFICANTLY cut down on the junk mail we get.  The only stuff we get now is from companies that we patronize.

    In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for. As for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. -HL Mencken

    by sq1 on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:53:26 AM PDT

    •  the catch (none)
      if you do "any business" with a company at all, and that is loosely defined, they can still send you stuff. I do business with Visa but that doesn't mean I want a new card offer every day. Not to mention charitable organizations that aren't really charities.
      •  Hey (none)
        I'm just letting you know my mileage.

        We've got two MBNA cc's, and after writing to them as well, we get no more "0% APR Credit Cards!" mailings either.

        I do know that mail carrier's jobs suck, and this doesn't help them at all, while costing the company you "aim" to get back at no more than pennies.

        You can opt-out - it just takes a few letters, and it might keep a postal worker from going postal.

        In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for. As for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. -HL Mencken

        by sq1 on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 11:05:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Not just credit cards (none)
    The NYT sent me an offer last week.

    I sent it back, with this question:

    When you FIRE Judy Miller, get back to me, I will consider the offer.

    Either way it's a win!

  •  exponential growth (none)
    The navy used to send out a recruiting package, including a glossy mag, with 3 cards for "my friend might be interested..."

    So he'd fill out the cards, get back more packages. repeat.

    The postal delivery guy didn't complain until he was getting 150 a day. "I love the gag, but i've got to carry them."

    No-one who voted against the USAPATRIOT Act has lost an election. I am not currently Licensed to Practice in this State. Or Yours.

    by ben masel on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:55:44 AM PDT

  •  I send my junk mail out (none)
    I'll put shredded PennySavers into the CitiBank envelope.  Coupons for the Picture People go to surveys for JD Power and Associates.  My favorite is to send Comcast my ads for dishNetwork or Cingular the T-Mobile ads.  I get bored...sue me.

    I notice that about 3 months after I do this (has to be continual), the junk mail will ebb.  Nice, then I get complacent and it starts back up again.  In 2002 - 3 when I was pregnant, and just laid off, I had nothing better to do with my time and I did this.  We hardly got any junk mail until about the fall of '03.  Other things I've put in the envelopes:

    Confetti (I got a paper shredder and 7 hole punchers and tons of time on my hands sometimes).
    Those fake credit cards
    Junk mail from my neighbors
    Newspaper clippings
    Toilet paper or paper towels
    Stale chips

    I seal it shut with tons of packing, masking and Scotch tape and go on my way.  My mailman thinks I'm nuts, but he laughs at it all the time.  He said that tons of people on my street do the same thing.  

  •  An alternative (none)
    I heard about one guy who used bailing wire and some machine he built to roll up his junk mail good & tight. During the winter, he'd chuck the "logs" into his wood stove and heat his house.

    So for this guy, anyway, it wasn't so much junk mail as free fuel arriving in his mailbox year-round.

    Hatred is murder (1 John 3:15)

    by dirtroad on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 12:01:14 PM PDT

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