And while I’m complaining …
Last night, I opened my big backlog of snail-mail. When I say “big” I mean that if I could have got it all to stand up in a single stack, it would have been between two and three feet high, and that I was up until 3:30am ploughing through it.
On the whole, I feel much better for having cleared it all out, and seen the letters from the Tax office in December 2011 reminding me that the deadline for filing was going to be January 2012. But as I went through it all, I was shocked at how very much of it — maybe a third of the total — was spam from charities that I have no relationship with.
I don’t mind so much when I get letters from charities that I’ve chosen to give to (although frankly even for most of them, I sort of wish they’d just take my money and shut up). But it’s the ones I’ve never contacted that I really resent. People I’ve never even heard of, writing begging letters out of the blue. Not only that, some of them are bizarre charities to be contacting me, and I can’t imagine where they got my details from. For example, one of them wanted me to give them £3 a month to feed a dog. I don’t even like dogs. In fact, I actively dislike them. If anything, I’d pay £3 a month to starve a dog. [Note: disregard that last sentence if you are a dog-lover.]
But what really gets my goat is all the crud they send me. These are completely unsolicited “gifts”, and that’s what the photo above shows. I am now the not-very-proud owner of:
- Two separate sets of name-and-address stickers, all of them referring to me as “Mr. M. Taylor”, when I’ve been Dr. Taylor since 2009.
- A grotty bookmark.
- An admittedly quite nice Wonders of the World 2013 calendar.
- Some inexplicable greetings cards with pictures of staple foods on them.
- A pair of nasty coasters.
- A plethora of more conventional greetings cards, with envelopes — I make it about ten in the top (landscape) file and five in each of the three lower portrait piles).
- Two little notepads with sticky backs.
- A small plastic syringe (yes, really), which is partly hidden behind the landscape envelopes in the picture above.
- A small plastic spoon.
- Four pens from three different charities.
- A tiny, tiny pair of socks. What?
- (Not pictured) Two separate gifts of 12p each, now in my pocket and destined to pay for half of a Mars Bar.
I just hate all this. I don’t even want to think about how much money these charities wasted in getting all this crud designed, made and sent to me. What makes it worse is that a lot of these are reputable charities — people like the Red Cross — who you’d expect better of.
The lesson this teaches is: if you give money to one charity, they will tell their buddies and you’ll be inundated with spam forever. I’ve never given any charity permission to send my details to others, but that apparently hasn’t stopped them. What a rotten way to behave.
Because I had such a shedload of post to get through, I just junked all the spam without further action this time. But I’m not going to keep doing that. From now on, when I get spammed, I will send the junk back to the originator in the pre-paid envelope, with a big STOP SPAMMING ME message scrawled over it.