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Stuffing Junkmail Postage-Paid Envelopes?

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the fun-and-games-for-the-snail-mail-spammers dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 516

Yesterday I mentioned that I've started returning the postage paid envelopes that come in most junkmail... except I returned them emptya as my personal little statement against the waste in time and resources that they are causing. Many readers emailed to tell me that I only had it half right: I should be weighting the envelopes down and forcing the junk mailer to pay postage on my little care packages. Have others tried this? What works? Most readers had suggestions ranging from sending each junkmailer the contents of a different junk mailers envelope to filling the envelope with shreddings from your crosscut paper shredder. Of course my personal favorite was the guy suggested a few pieces of sheet metal). Take a stand against junk mail! Sorry Mr. Postal Worker!

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Re:You're just inconveniencing the Post Office (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#495621)

Sorry, that's not true. Our company has used business reply envelopes. They arrive just like postage due mail would. We have to pay when they get delivered. I'm sure that companies that use business rpely mail a lot have some sort of account with the post office where they only get billed monthly. Reply rates for mass mailings is very low, probably 1 - 2 percent. Why would a company pay postage for all those envelopes that never get used? The Post Office also only gives discounts when mail is sent in bulk - because it saves them sorting costs. There's no way return mailers would reduce sorting costs, so it would cost (now) 34 cents per envelope. They might as well just put a real stamp on each envelope (and some do, when they don't have time to get the proper account from the Post Office.)

Re:You're just inconveniencing the Post Office (1)

Tino (1418) | more than 13 years ago | (#495624)

This is incorrect in the USA. See the USPS Domestic Mail Manual, 922.3.1. (Available online at http://pe.usps.gov/cpim/ftp/manuals/Dmm/dmmtc.pdf)

The postal service charges the first-class postage for the piece, and then an additional fee for the trouble of handling business reply mail.

Taping the envelopes to a brick won't work, though. Postal regulations consider business reply mail envelopes stuck to other things to be waste -- possibly to eliminate this very problem.

You're just inconveniencing the Post Office (1)

The Metahacker (3507) | more than 13 years ago | (#495627)

See, those companies are charged the postage for the envelopes when they *buy* the envelopes, not when the envelopes are actually mailed. There is a flat charge the Post Office charges for each envelope, which includes the return postage.

The price per envelope is fairly cheap, but significant, which is why most utilities nowadays make you put your own stamp on envelopes - IMHO, a particularly annoying bit of cheapness on the part of these companies. I'm half-tempted to remove 33 cents (or whatever it is now) from each of my bills to cover my postage costs.

So dropping those Business Reply envelopes in the mail is just causing problems for your poor mail carrier, and is not costing the company anything extra.

Re:You're just inconveniencing the Post Office (1)

The Metahacker (3507) | more than 13 years ago | (#495628)

Paying postage is a fact of life. Get over it, or sign up for automatic bill payment -- most of your creditors probably have this available. Call up the billing department and have them either automatically charge your credit card or deduct from your checking account.

Call me paranoid, but I'm not willing to have my bills paid "automatically". I prefer to have the chance to look at the bill and see what the company has goofed on this month before sending them anything. Before I send them the money, I'm in a position of power -- I have the money, and they don't. If they've done something wrong, the pressure of proof is on them to figure it out so they can get their money. If I have already payed them, there is much less incentive for them to resolve the issue in a timely fashion.

And this isn't just idle speculation. ALL of the first FIVE bills I got from AT&T had errors on them, always in AT&T's favor, ranging from the amusing to the ridiculous. My cable/phone company routinely "forgets" that we have a package deal, or fails to credit the account as promised for service problems (an all-too-frequent occurrance), and so on. I refuse to let these people have free access to my credit card or checking account.

Re:Hey, hey. Great minds think alike. (1)

pergamon (4359) | more than 13 years ago | (#495632)

or a modem

Hey, hey. Great minds think alike. (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 13 years ago | (#495633)

I used to do that years ago. I don't get much junk mail free return address lately though.

Calling 1-800 lines is fun too. You have to be really bored, though.


--

Re:not all 1800 numbers are toll free (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 13 years ago | (#495634)

Be careful, your laugh could blow up in your face. If you want to call a toll free number, do it from a public phone.

How so?

Besides in my country, they can't circumvent caller ID blocking. If they did, they'd face up to 3 years jail time, considering computer privacy laws.


--

Re:Like this does any good (1)

Thrakkerzog (7580) | more than 13 years ago | (#495640)

It could help the economy! :-)


-- Thrakkerzog

Re:not all 1800 numbers are toll free (1)

elflord (9269) | more than 13 years ago | (#495648)

and the joke's on you if theirs isn't. Verify that it's toll free before running up your own bill.

Spam the spammers (1)

Vapula (14703) | more than 13 years ago | (#495654)

What about collecting both these enveloppes and the form going inside then, when you've enough of them, cross fill the formsand then them...

These spammers would probably notice they don'thave these addresses in their DB and add them to their Spam DB...

Only do it for FREE info, never order anything as it would turn back against you.

They 'll have to make people work on these forms (if you send empty enveloppe, noone get paid to read what is written in the form.)

Re:Send them something rotting... (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 13 years ago | (#495663)

'But I thought you boys could use a nice bowl of chili!'

ROTFLMAO! That is absolutely outstanding. I have to try that.

--

It should.. (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 13 years ago | (#495670)

When they pull your telephone number from their bills and come collecting for your abuse of their resource.

Blown magazine inserts (1)

Macdude (23507) | more than 13 years ago | (#495680)

Don't forget about the dozens of subscription request cards that drop out of every magazine you pick up...

One bad egg spoils the cake... (1)

PantherX (23953) | more than 13 years ago | (#495682)

Haven't you guys ever heard the expression, "All it takes is a few assholes to fuck things up for everyone else"?

If you start doing this, ALL companies will stop providing this basic (albeit expected) service. Don't be an ass.

Bricks! (1)

Vladinator (29743) | more than 13 years ago | (#495691)

Use Bricks! Or, my favorite - cat poop!

Fawking Trolls! [geekizoid.com]

keep it all moving (1)

enight (32546) | more than 13 years ago | (#495697)

I take the contents of one junk mailing and put them in the reply envelope of the other. That way, my kitchen table doesn't get cluttered up so fast, and perhaps some mailroom worker will win $10,000,000 unexpectedly.

Re:don't overload, they'll just get chucked (1)

Tower (37395) | more than 13 years ago | (#495703)

The envelopes are prepaid - they don't charge on what actually gets used, just on the number initially purchased/permit-stamped.
--

Re:What you need is government regulation. (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 13 years ago | (#495732)

> It's not as though it will bring socialism crashing down on your head, is it?

Nah, the ponzi scheme called social insecurity will do that, all by itself ;-)

Change the address, get free postage (1)

systmc (92469) | more than 13 years ago | (#495757)

I've never tried this, but have always wondered; how about changing the address on the postage-paid envelopes for your own personal use? Are the envelopes marked (via barcode, etc) to disallow this?

Re:Glue on the fold (1)

Paradise_Pete (95412) | more than 13 years ago | (#495762)

You did warn them, so you can't be held responsible

There's some fine logic. As long as you warn them you can do whatever you want? Why not put a bomb in there? Just label the box and you're off the hook. I also understand that was O.J. Simpson's back-up defense; if the "if it doesn't fit, you must acquit" stuff didn't work, they were going to say that O.J. warned them before he stabbed them 43 times, so he wasn't responsible.

Re:don't overload, they'll just get chucked (1)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 13 years ago | (#495771)

The point is, they pay the postage based on a normal letter. If it weighs more they have to pay more in postage, causing the junk mailer to pay more money.
--

Re:Give it a rest (1)

peteshaw (99766) | more than 13 years ago | (#495772)

Wrong-o. By generating a larger volume of mail in total, per unit costs are smaller. If private first class mail made up say 30% of total volume instead of 10% you can bet the postage on 1st class would go up by more than a penny. --Pete

I've started doing this as well... (1)

dsginter (104154) | more than 13 years ago | (#495777)

Yesterday - I took the advice from a Slashdot read and loaded an evelope up with glitter so that the mail sorters would get all hosed up...

Re:You're just inconveniencing the Post Office (1)

the.pixie (111441) | more than 13 years ago | (#495792)

Actually, I disagree with that since most non-profit organizations ask that you put a stamp on an envelope to send it back to them, even if it is postage paid so that they will not be charged. So there must be some truth to the post-[no pun intended] charging theory.
~Amber~
-Don't drink and park, accidents cause people-

duh... SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM (1)

brianboru (117882) | more than 13 years ago | (#495795)


Am I the only one who thinks that filling the envelopes full of SPAM [spam.com]
(not to be confused with electronic spam) would be extremely funny?

Sure, a little smelly maybe, but...

Make them eat their own dog food (1)

copyconstructor (124033) | more than 13 years ago | (#495804)

Let's see, what do I have a lot of that I want to get rid of? How about junk mail?!!! Send their own stuff back to them or better yet, send them another junk mailer's junk mail. Be sure to include the postage paid envelope - if they're as stupid as they assume everyone else is, it'll become a self-sustaining feedback loop and the rest of us will never get junk mail again.

Re:Why stop there (1)

pallex (126468) | more than 13 years ago | (#495805)

What they consider it is of no concern to me.

I've heard... (1)

RedMage (136286) | more than 13 years ago | (#495816)

Take this as the urban legend it probably is, but a FOAF (see http://www.snopes.com) once told me that weighting them down doesn't do much more than having the postal system discard them. I doubt that that brick you tied to the postage paid envelope will go any further than the local office trash. I'm not even sure that the postage is ties to weight on these things -- Don't they get some kind of bulk/pre-sort discount? In which case, you putting anything really heavy in it will make it "out of spec", and adding something not-so-heavy won't cost 'em more than an empty.

junkmail is the lesser evil (1)

discotech (138852) | more than 13 years ago | (#495817)

you realize that if there were no such thing as junk mail (which generate almost all of the revenues of the postoffice), then mail would be insanely expensive (>$5)

to cause inconvenience to the bulk mailers also... (1)

SirEdward (145032) | more than 13 years ago | (#495822)

why not stuff the envelops with something that looks like a legit reply so they'll have to process them?

Re:You're just inconveniencing the Post Office (1)

flamingchicken (151414) | more than 13 years ago | (#495827)

Even so. It costs the company money that receives the envelope just because they have to take the time of receiving it and going though it. Just imagine the time that is wasted cleaning up an envelope of sand, or other such annoying material.

Sorry Mr. Circuit Court Judge (1)

10.0.0.1 (153985) | more than 13 years ago | (#495828)

I wonder if "fraudulent" use of Business Reply Mail would constitute "Mail Fraud". Anyone out there know the answer?

spent fuel from nuclear reactors! (1)

Cryptnotic (154382) | more than 13 years ago | (#495830)

Depleted uranium has all the characteristics of a great spam-weight.
  • very heavy for its size
  • unwanted
Plus, nuclear reactors have been trying to figure out for years what they should do with the stuff. I'm sure they would love to pass the responsibility on to the spammers.

filling them with metal (1)

brad3378 (155304) | more than 13 years ago | (#495831)

What you really need is not just a regular sheet metal like Aluminum
or steel, but something with a very high density.

Anybody know where I can get sheets of Gold plating about the size of an envelope?

Re:You're just inconveniencing the Post Office (1)

bluebomber (155733) | more than 13 years ago | (#495832)

IMHO, a particularly annoying bit of cheapness on the part of these companies. I'm half-tempted to remove 33 cents (or whatever it is now) from each of my bills to cover my postage costs.

Paying postage is a fact of life. Get over it, or sign up for automatic bill payment -- most of your creditors probably have this available. Call up the billing department and have them either automatically charge your credit card or deduct from your checking account. Then you also have, "no fee", "hassle free" bill payment as is often advertised for-pay all over the web...

-bluebomber

Re:don't overload, they'll just get chucked (1)

bluebomber (155733) | more than 13 years ago | (#495833)

As has been pointed out elsewhere in a separate thread, they've already paid postage! You're not costing them anything!
-bluebomber

Re:Give it a rest (1)

bluebomber (155733) | more than 13 years ago | (#495834)

Finally, the costs of junk mail is used by the USPS to subsidize acutual postage.

Not quite. By law, each class of mail is required to be self-supporting. No class of mail is allowed to subsidize another class, as you purport.
-bluebomber

Postage-paid envelopes... (1)

Saint Aardvark (159009) | more than 13 years ago | (#495837)

...filled with either:
  1. Flyers that get dropped in my mailbox, or
  2. Weird Xtian tracts. Texe Marrs [texemarrs.com] is my favourite...click here [tripod.com] to see why.

Even better (1)

gruppa (165733) | more than 13 years ago | (#495844)

If they still don't stop mailing you make up your own envelopes with their account code / freepost address on. Send as many as you can!

Pre-Paid postage First Class (1)

chowpalace (166596) | more than 13 years ago | (#495848)

Im curious if they pay a flat rate based on the up to 1oz fee? or if its a scaled rate based on the weight? If the latter is the case just return what ever they sent in the handy envelope provided. Dont do it to with your visa, sears, discover, etc bills tho... Publishers Clearinghouse is a great candidate....

Why stop there (1)

montgomery (176658) | more than 13 years ago | (#495857)

Call up the companies 800 repeatedly number using a modem. The calls are more expensive. It is also better for the enviroment.

Interesting idea (1)

kligh (178809) | more than 13 years ago | (#495860)

I'd have to think that if I was a mass mailer and suddenly I started getting my envelopes returned to me full of shredded paper, or even empty, I'd seriously start to re-think my business strategy.

Or do you suppose the limited number of responses recieved makes up for the vast majority of people who immediately roundfile any junkmail they get. I honestly don't know, but I'm guessing they do, judging from the amount of junk mail I get (how did I get signed up for this stuff?)

Re:Glue on the fold (1)

Sheki (178900) | more than 13 years ago | (#495861)

That is an absolutely fantastic idea, but I would make one alteration:

Do exactly as you have said, but instead of glue, use thin bits of your favourite metal. Now _THAT_ will cause some mechanical difficulties.

Political Influence for Pennies (1)

wytcld (179112) | more than 13 years ago | (#495862)

As Bush the Elder faced his impending defeat, the Republical National Committee sent me a particularly large reply envelope, which I filled with pennies and cardboard reinforcement.

<p>A month later a certificate arrived naming me to a special Republican national advisory committee. Guess they were touched by my sincere expression of support.

And environmental protection too (1)

wytcld (179112) | more than 13 years ago | (#495863)

For some years, when certain environmental hucksters were sending out reams of processed forest with 'urgent surveys' to return with my pledge in order to save those same forests, I was returning them with no cash enclosed by a promise, "Send me the results of this survey - which I doubt you actually ever compile - and I'll happily send you $100." They never took me up.

SAND! (1)

Turgon33 (179510) | more than 13 years ago | (#495864)

a little bit of sand in a plastic bag or other junkmail envelope does the trick.

Re:Sorry Mr. Circuit Court Judge (1)

fonebone (192290) | more than 13 years ago | (#495870)

maybe you should avoid putting your return address on the envelope, then.

just an idea.

good thing to do (1)

SouperMike (199023) | more than 13 years ago | (#495872)

what you SHOULD do, is fill the envelope with sugar. then glue the envelope shut instead of just licking it. it won't be easy to open and when they do they'll have to do it forcefully and all the sugar will spill everywhere.

Re:Send them something rotting... (1)

PirateKing (204119) | more than 13 years ago | (#495878)

Sheesh! Cecil Adams [straightdope.com] has already debunked this claim...you won't bankrupt the bulik mail companies this way, you'll just make the postal works go postal!

wouldn't it be great (1)

drDugan (219551) | more than 13 years ago | (#495898)

Returning stuffed junk mail. I like it.

Wouldn't it be great if there was a clear analogy
to returning SPAM? I guess the closest thing
is DOS attacks on the service provider, but that really hurts
more than just the spammer.

any other ideas?

Re:Why stop there (1)

kenthorvath (225950) | more than 13 years ago | (#495904)

Not really. Nowadays big companies use T1 and T3 lines which don't really cost that much per call. Your wasting your time. And it can be consider a DoS attack if I'm not mistaken.

Preach the WORD! (1)

quamper (229753) | more than 13 years ago | (#495905)

Don't bother with weighting them down. Just stick a copy of the DeCSS source code in each and everyone. ;)

Or for that matter Slashcode, the Linux Kernel, {insert favorite Open Source Project}

Just an idea.

Three words: (1)

mdtrent3 (236695) | more than 13 years ago | (#495907)

Get a life.

Re:Your only hurting the guy who has to open the t (1)

rongage (237813) | more than 13 years ago | (#495908)

These places generally have a "mail opener" piece of hardware. Essentially a rotating blade that shaves off the very end of the envelope. Then they use a stream of air and gravity to extract the contents. Very quick, efficient, and no human hands in use.

Maybe just get yourself off their list... (1)

sacremon (244448) | more than 13 years ago | (#495920)

How about returning the original letter with the word 'Deceased' written on it. No sense in sending junk mail to someone who is dead, at least if you're trying to target your market by a factor other than geographical location.

I've used the tactic to some degree with telemarketers, telling them that the person of that name (me) is dead. They typically give a quick 'Sorry' and hang up.

Re:Like this does any good (1)

skt (248449) | more than 13 years ago | (#495924)

You've returned their mailing, so now they know you read whatever they send to you. Do you expect to get less mail from them? No! They'll sell your name to a list as a person who actually reads their mail!

How are they going to get your name and address from returning a prepaid envelope? You're not going to put that information on the front are you? Yes, what you just described is somewhat true for spammers using email, but not for snail mail.

It'll still cost them money... (1)

Radish03 (248960) | more than 13 years ago | (#495925)

They still need to pay someone to sit there all day and actually open these envelopes. Imagine the look on that minimum wage employee's face when he/she opens the envelope to find more junk mail!

DU Sheets Instead! (1)

hovelander (250785) | more than 13 years ago | (#495926)

Of course it would have to come from the Iraqi desert...

Perhaps we should start some kind of "MAIL THAT FRIGGIN THING BACK, LOADED!!!" day that looms like the pending actors guild strike?

That would be the day that postal carriers dread more than XmAs.

Re:You're just inconveniencing the Post Office (1)

baptiste (256004) | more than 13 years ago | (#495932)

True - but if you stuff it with useless paper of some kind they still have to pay someone to take the opened envelope and 'process' the contents. Sure they see its bogus (you return other junk mail to them or something) but it still costs them time and the company more money.

Thats why I still return postage paid reply envelopes :)

Re:Blown magazine inserts (1)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 13 years ago | (#495960)

What's the deal with getting these subscription cards in a magazine that I'm already subscribing to?

IMHO, this type of mail uses more resources than spam ever could. The inconvenience of a server outage pales in comparison to the number of trees getting cut down and jet fuel used to bring these lovely pieces of garbage to my door.

Dancin Santa

Re:I've started doing this as well... (1)

WIC (307042) | more than 13 years ago | (#495978)

Sending back what they sent you for ads (i.e., credit cards upsells, etc.) is a MUST. This will put the point home. Add your own flavor to the reply... Personal favorite is clip some random sh-t out from the paper and place a sticky note on it with a "FYI" or "Thought you should see this" attached. OR FLIP IT AROUND-- sell your stuff back to THEM with their postage. Insert your company brochure, business card, card with URL on it, whatever. It depends who your audience is but either way, the randomness of the act is bound to get a few chuckles from the mail sorters. Keep this thread moving... Hehupps http://www.resumecard.com

Re:Two birds with one stone... (2)

Alan (347) | more than 13 years ago | (#495990)

As discussed in the article [slashdot.org] yesturday, they don't let you do that. This is the thread with some more info [straightdope.com] about that. Here [improbable.com] is some more info on what can and can't be done.

Re:You're just inconveniencing the Post Office (2)

Malc (1751) | more than 13 years ago | (#495998)

"The price per envelope is fairly cheap, but significant, which is why most utilities nowadays make you put your own stamp on envelopes - IMHO, a particularly annoying bit of cheapness on the part of these companies. I'm half-tempted to remove 33 cents (or whatever it is now) from each of my bills to cover my postage costs. "

When I was living in the US, I would just stop at a supermarket on the way to work and pay there. This saved me money, an I knew what date the payment was received too... no worrying that it didn't get there before my service was disconnected. Now that I'm in Canada, I can pay over the phone or the internet.

Re:Glue on the fold (2)

Ex-NT-User (1951) | more than 13 years ago | (#495999)

Yes but to be removed from the mailing list the envelope would have to contain your name. If the envelope contained your name.. then they can sue you for breaking their equipment.

OR WORSE Sending you EVEN MORE junk mail.

Re:not all 1800 numbers are toll free (2)

elflord (9269) | more than 13 years ago | (#496006)

Be careful, your laugh could blow up in your face. If you want to call a toll free number, do it from a public phone.

Send their junk back to them (2)

kzinti (9651) | more than 13 years ago | (#496008)

I think it's only fitting to take the junk they sent you, *all* of it, tear it into pieces, put the pieces back into the reply envelope, and send the lot of it back to them.

--Jim

Re:Hey, hey. Great minds think alike. (2)

emc3 (22477) | more than 13 years ago | (#496018)

That's the problem with trying to get 'revenge' on junk mailers. You have to spend your own time to do it. So unless you have time to spare, or really derive satisfaction from using the system against them, it's not worth it. I learned years ago that my time is worth money. Sometimes I have to just look at something and say "is it worth $100/hour for me to do this" (I figure that's about what my time would be worth as an independent contractor)? Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't.
--
Ernest MacDougal Campbell III / NIC Handle: EMC3

Re:You're just inconveniencing the Post Office (2)

babbage (61057) | more than 13 years ago | (#496037)

My understanding is that it's called bulk mail for a reason. The mailing organization pays a fee $x that will allow them to send a certain quantity of mail $k. If you affix postage to a given return mailing, that mailing isn't deducted from the quantity the mailer has arranged to pay for, thus they can effectively send more of them.

In some cases, I'm sympathetic to this. I'm willing to pay the postage for a little indie record label, or an underground political candidate, etc. I'm much less interested in helping out a for-profit company, and would never chip in on mass mail companies.

It drives me nuts that the various utilities companies (phone, gas, electric, etc) all make you pay the postage on the bills now. I realize that the cumulative cost of covering this themselves would probably be fairly significant, but hell, they could just invisibly add 25 or 50 cents to each bill & I don't think anyone would notice or mind too much. You're sending them money anyway, after all... ugh.



from the Domestic Mail Manual (2)

intuition (74209) | more than 13 years ago | (#496040)

From the Domestic Mail Manual available at http://pe.usps.gov

S-58 3.0 p. 914 DMM issue 56

"Each piece of returned BRM is charged the applicable single-piece First-Class or Priority Mail postage. Cards must meet the standards in C100 to qualify for card rate postage. Any card larger than those dimensions is charged the applicable First-Class Mail letter rated. For Priority Mail over 5 pounds if the zone cannot be determined from a return address or cancellation, then the permit holder is charged zone 4 postage for the weight of the piece.

Furthermore, for all you people "strap a brick to the BRM and throw it in a mail box... yeah that will get them"

p. 913 S922 1.6

BRM may not be used for any purpose other than that intended by the permit holder, even if postage is affixed. In cases where a BRM card or letter is used improperly as a label, the USPS treats the item as waste.

Re:Send them something rotting... (2)

Borealis (84417) | more than 13 years ago | (#496043)

The greek cucumber sauce (forgive the abomination of my spelling of it) tsatsiki is one of the most foul spelling things in this world once it has gone bad. I recommend that.

Methods (2)

KilobyteKnight (91023) | more than 13 years ago | (#496046)

The easiest is ripping up whatever they sent you and sending it back. A little added Elmers glue is always fun also. I always shove as much as will fit into the envelope. Pocket lint, coffee grounds, whatever. Make it bulge. Make it heavy. Make it messy.

Whatever you decide, remove the code first (2)

madmancarman (100642) | more than 13 years ago | (#496051)

Business reply mail usually has a code printed as letters and numbers or a bar code that allows them to track where the card was taken from. For example, if a bunch of people from southwestern Ohio decide to send in blank cards from PC World, they'll be able to tell that a lot of people who read the midwest printing at the very least looked at their card in PC World and took the time to send it in. Marketing pays for eyeballs, and by sending in blank cards, you're basically telling them that your part of the country noticed their advertising.

I mentioned this in the "Spammer Gets Spammed" article, but I usually hop on this stuff too late to get modded up. Just remove, white-out, or marker over the tracking code (it's usually in the lower left or right-hand corner) and you've truly annoyed them, because not only do they pay for the postage, but they don't get anything useful out of it.

How about (2)

mmmmbeer (107215) | more than 13 years ago | (#496055)

<sarcasm>
How about putting small explosive devices in the envelopes? Then they'll blow their hands off when they open them! That'll teach 'em!
&lt/sarcasm&gt

Sending empty or false replies to junk mail isn't going to discourage them. The people who make the decisions are too far away from the people who do the work.

How about doing something useful instead? (2)

shario (109443) | more than 13 years ago | (#496056)

Come on, kids?

You are trying to change the world by mailing rotting material, shredded phonebooks and bricks?

How about writing a letter to your representatives, and asking for a law similar as the one in Europe that requires companies to have a common blacklist of people who don't want any junk mail?

don't overload, they'll just get chucked (2)

bluebomber (155733) | more than 13 years ago | (#496066)

You'll defeat the purpose if you overstuff: the envelopes may just get chucked without costing your target anything. Besides, why have it require effort? Just seal the thing and drop it in the mail...

-bluebomber

I prefer DUCT TAPE to get a good seal (2)

bluebomber (155733) | more than 13 years ago | (#496067)

The envelope cutters have fun with these too!
-bluebomber

Like this does any good (2)

Tairan (167707) | more than 13 years ago | (#496069)

Come on. By returning your junk mail, you put a load on the US Postal system. You talk about a waste of resources. The mail carriers now have an extra 50 tons of return-to-sender mail to deliver. That's extra mail trucks, more airplanes to carry it, even more postmen to bring it into the building. Imagine if Visa sent out 10 million applications with their return envelope. Now, if 500,000 people return it, filled with iron pellets, what's the poor mailman going to do? You'll break his back!

What about the cost to the company? You've returned their mailing, so now they know you read whatever they send to you. Do you expect to get less mail from them? No! They'll sell your name to a list as a person who actually reads their mail!

This is pure idiotocracy. Stop fueling this wierd idea that you're saving the enviroment by returning envelopes. All you are doing is hurting all of us. Now, the company is going to send out more mail, to collect that 30 cents they lost from you. Just be smart, and drop it into the shredder, and recycle the clippings.

In a pinch for sparkles (2)

Fervent (178271) | more than 13 years ago | (#496071)

Tacks work.

-
-Be a man. Insult me without using an AC.

Wrong - there IS a per-piece chargeback (2)

ChrisCampbell47 (181542) | more than 13 years ago | (#496073)

Wrong -- there IS a per-piece chargeback.

Yes, the business has to pay a fee to start, but they also get charged postage on the items that actually get used. As to weight limits, a few minutes browsing gets you that info:

http://pe.usps.gov/text/qsg/q922.htm

http://new.usps.com/cgi-bin/uspsbv/scripts/content .jsp?D=24687#a6

But it's certainly easier to talk about something than shuddup and check your facts.

Re:don't overload, they'll just get chucked (2)

Sodium Attack (194559) | more than 13 years ago | (#496075)

As has been pointed out elsewhere in a separate thread, they've already paid postage!

As has also been pointed out [slashdot.org] in that same separate thread, that statement is a bald-faced lie.

Why not just go read the posts (2)

OlympicSponsor (236309) | more than 13 years ago | (#496086)

Many many MANY people talked about this on your very own website. Why not just read the posts?

Here's the upshot for the lazy: The Post Office used to be required to deliver anything with an address (and conforming to some size/weight/safety restrictions). But in the case of junkmail/magazine-tearouts affixed to bricks and so forth, postal workers generally toss the item in the trash, "According to rule 917.243(b) in the Domestic Mail Manual". Source [straightdope.com]

Anyway, I still suggest you go through and read the posts yourself, there are a few good links in there (like the Improbable Research item about sending odd items through the mail)
--
MailOne [openone.com]

Oh honey, nothin but bills and bricks. (2)

grovertime (237798) | more than 13 years ago | (#496087)

It's true, the best solution is the one you presented. Placing sand inside - or taping a brick right on - the postage-paid envelope, then dropping it in a mailbox is the best way to take some revenge (and solace). In some cases the post office will attempt to collect upon delivery, but not always. However, they generally will attempt to return the item as they are mandated (they have to process and deliver anything up to a certain ridiculous level (I think it's in their constitutional documents), so I suppose sending turds would be a good way to go too.

  1. humor for the clinically insane [mikegallay.com]

Your only hurting the guy who has to open the thng (2)

Squarewav (241189) | more than 13 years ago | (#496091)

Picture this, your making 6$ an hour opening envolopes for some cheap ass company, mostlikly barle making your rent. of course you have to open like 1000per hour entering all the data into the computer, have a disgruntaled bos breathing down your neck, and then to top it off you end up opening lots of emptys and even worse ones with strange crap inside. whos ever came up with the idea of sending junk mail , may not even see it or have any clue as to what is going on

Re:junkmail is the lesser evil (2)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 13 years ago | (#496092)

Now let me see. Most junk mail is sent third class, meaning it costs the sender a fraction of cost of a normal first class letter. Of the mail I receive, around 40-50% is legitimate, varying from bills and statements (the majority) to ordered magazines, letters and cards from friends and family, etc. I assume I'm normal in this, because I receive just as many bills as everyone else around here, have a decent credit rating, relatively few credit cards and other accounts that need statements, and as such have no reason to suspect I get a higher proportion of junk mail than anyone else.

And we haven't even skimmed the surface of business to business mail.

If the post office is really making the majority of its revenues from junk mail, then I'm a banana. At most I'd estimate it gets 25% of its revenue from junk mail: if junk mail went away tomorrow, we might see a 33% increase in the cost of first class mail, but no more than that. That wouldn't be nice, but I doubt many would be paying more than a dollar a month extra in postage anyway.
--

Re:What you need is government regulation. (3)

Cato (8296) | more than 13 years ago | (#496102)

Unfortunately the UK's Mailing Preference Service is not backed by law - any company that is not part of the UK Direct Marketing Association is free to do what it wants. See http://www.dma.org.uk/thedma/cgi-bin/incorporate.p l?&path=../documents/prfro4izm.txt&user=flflflflfl fl

The Data Protection Act does seem to provide some degree of opt-out - every reputable company gives you the chance to opt out of mailings, but you have to hunt to find the tiny box on the form that you need to tick for this. You can't register your name directly with the data protection registrar, only with the DMA's service or individual companies to opt out of their mailings.

Re:What you need is government regulation. (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#496110)

A litle regulation here, a little regulation there. Each tiny step to more government regulation is another foot down the path to pure socialism. If you oppose socialism, as I do, then anything which leans society to that eventual direction is something that I will oppose. While irritating, it takes me all of 5-10 seconds to sort my mail and throw the junk mail in the trash. Hardly worth freeing up 10 seconds of my life a day just to allow the government to control one more thing.

I think this quote is appropriate:
"The big question to ask about proposals for new laws and policies is not whether they sound reasonable, but what damage they can do when they are used unreasonably."
-Thomas Sowell

Two birds with one stone... (4)

howardjp (5458) | more than 13 years ago | (#496113)

Of course, Abbie Hoffman suggested pasting bircks to business reply cards in his seminal work Steal This Book. But to kill too birds with one stone, try gluing the silly AOL CDs to them and then drop them in a blue postal box.

Most Americans don't realize how backward we are (4)

JoeBuck (7947) | more than 13 years ago | (#496114)

In most developed countries, no one opens a bunch of paper bills, writes paper checks, puts them in envelopes, and mails them. Almost all payments are handled electronically. The US is far behind Europe in this regard.

Send them something rotting... (4)

GoNINzo (32266) | more than 13 years ago | (#496116)

You could always put something that is obviously rotting in there... just find your local side street with some roadkill, scrape it up, package it, and send it in! won't they be surprised! I'm not quite so vengeful but it might be kind of funny.

One of my coworkers said his grandfather used to send in the card saying 'Please don't mail me again and take me off your list.' and include half a cup of chili or jello or porriage. And because the card is covered in crap, they'd always have to enter it in by hand. He got quite a few calls back from people, and would just play senile from there.

'But I thought you boys could use a nice bowl of chili!'


--
Gonzo Granzeau

My personal Faves: (4)

BigumD (219816) | more than 13 years ago | (#496118)

  • Filling in fake information then paying whatever they are asking for in Monopoly Money.
  • Send them Polaroids of yourself, ask them to write back.
  • Two Words: AOL Discs ;)
  • Scrawl "Help Me" on a post-it note, cover in ketsup, mail it.
I'm sure you guys have some good ones too....

Sorry Mr. Postal worker? (4)

typical geek (261980) | more than 13 years ago | (#496119)

Yeah, that will appease him when his fallen arches and aching back makes him come after you with an AK-47.

What you need is government regulation. (4)

Lover's Arrival, The (267435) | more than 13 years ago | (#496120)

Junk mail is the ugly face of capitalism. However, in the UK you can opt out of Junk Mail completely by registering your name with a government organisation. It is then illegal for a company to send you unsolicited mail, and they have to check a central repository of names before they send any mail at all.

Why can't the US drop it's paranoid fear of government and implement such a system? It's not as though it will bring socialism crashing down on your head, is it? Is it?

NOT TRUE! (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#496121)

THIS IS NOT TRUE!

At least, not in the US! True, it's a flat fee per envelope TO MAIL OUT (from the company) but there's also a running account between the company and the postal service for returned envelopes!

Look in the corner where the stamp would be and you'll see the account number I'm talking about!

I used to work in accounts payable for a large organization in LA that did tens of thousands of these per week - and I remember writing the check to the US Postal service for the BRE's (Bulk Return Envelopes) as well as to Pitney Bowes for the original letters mailed OUT.

-Ben

Re:You're just inconveniencing the Post Office (5)

Mr. X (17716) | more than 13 years ago | (#496125)

Not true at all.. My reply envelopes from several organizations have a suggestion to affix a stamp to them, to save the organization money, instead of not using a stamp and having the organization pay the postage when they recieve the envelope. Why would they do this if it didn't change what they paid?

Re:You're just inconveniencing the Post Office (5)

MemRaven (39601) | more than 13 years ago | (#496126)

When I used to work for an insurance company, and I dealt with a lot of mail (bill payments from customers, not junk mail responses), that wasn't quite true. According to the office manager, we paid a license to be able to do Business Reply mail. But we got a bill every month from the postal service with the actual amount of things which were returned.

So you're half right. There is a cost just to be allowed to spam you with those envelopes. But it does cost the company per-envelope.

I can't remember if we got charged for the actual weight.

Re:You're just inconveniencing the Post Office (5)

intuition (74209) | more than 13 years ago | (#496127)

You couldnt be more wrong... You are charged by the post office when the mail is returned.

From the Domestic Mail Manual available at http://pe.usps.gov

S-58 3.0 p. 914 DMM issue 56

"Each piece of returned BRM is charged the applicable single-piece First-Class or Priority Mail postage. Cards must meet the standards in C100 to qualify for card rate postage. Any card larger than those dimensions is charged the applicable First-Class Mail letter rated. For Priority Mail over 5 pounds if the zone cannot be determined from a return address or cancellation, then the permit holder is charged zone 4 postage for the weight of the piece.

Furthermore, for all you people "strap a brick to the BRM and throw it in a mail box... yeah that will get them"

p. 913 S922 1.6

BRM may not be used for any purpose other than that intended by the permit holder, even if postage is affixed. In cases where a BRM card or letter is used improperly as a label, the USPS treats the item as waste.

Please moderate this up, and that other idiot dowm.

Give it a rest (5)

peteshaw (99766) | more than 13 years ago | (#496128)

I for one enjoy getting junk mail.

There is an important difference between junk mail and spam, and that it that is that junk mail costs the sender real physical dollars. The stuff you recieve in the mail are mostly legitimate. Its easy to filter out. It only takes time if you let it. Finally, the costs of junk mail is used by the USPS to subsidize acutual postage.

Would nay of you be willing to pay 75 cents for a stamp in order to get no junk mail? This is a real dollar issue, and I have no problem with junk mail at all. I find that the best credit card offers are junk mailed to me. I get menus to my local chinese restaurants. Its a good thing.

Contrast this with SPAM, or Unsolicited Commercial E-mail (UCE). This costs the sender nothing. It is frequently fraudulent, illegal, or 'scammy'. Some garbage about buying a stock or checking out a web page. The problem with the SPAM is that it doesn't cost anything! I wish to god that there was someway I could stuff a brick in a return envelope to every SPAMMER out there, but I can't so I make due with filters.

I am not aware of the technology required, but it seems to me the only real way to eliminated SPAM is to develop some sort of universal validated return address. Like caller-id, it would be optional, and like caller-id, you could block messages from those who don't disclose a valid return address.

But please don't terrorize those junk mailers, they are an annoyance that causes more good than harm.

--Pete

'he felt himself splitting into two halfs, one part soft, one part hard, one part warm, and one part cold, one part trembling, and one part not trembling, each half grinding against the other."--Ray Bradbury

Glue on the fold (5)

beebware (149208) | more than 13 years ago | (#496129)

First either find a glue that stays 'tacky' over long period of times, or get a little plastic bag, put glue in it, and seal it.

Now stick that on the inside of the envelope, and fold the top over - the idea being that when the junkmailers automatic enveloper-cutter comes across it, the contents of the envelope literally gums up the works.

If you put on the back, 'Warning contains glue - please remove me from ALL mailing lists', it'll also prompt them to actually read the envelopes before putting them in their systems. You did warn them, so you can't be held responsible, and you also asked to be removed from the mailing list as well...


Richy C.

A Useless Tactic (5)

shankster (178759) | more than 13 years ago | (#496130)

My current job involves handling mailings and donations for a non-profit organization in San Francisco, CA. We send out lots of direct mail (too much, IMO), and we get lots of people sending it back angrily and even some of them use tactics described in this article.

While it is annoying for us to have to deal with that, the powers that be 'round here still send out the same volume of mail - no, they've actually INCREASED the volume of mail - as before. We who actually open the mail and read the complaints feel your pain, but there isn't much we can do except put them in a file and try in vain to convince the people in charge that their mail campaign is a disastrous failure.

So long as it is economically viable for the junk mailers to send out the stuff, so long as they're at least getting something out of it, then they will continue to do so. And the sheer amount of mail, through the USPS or through your e-mail, is a testament to the basic fact that such mailings are, against all sense, effective.



You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
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