Thursday, January 7, 2010

How Many Catalogs Does One Person Need?

How many catalogs do you recycle each day? My mailbox is laden with unwanted catalogs. It’s rare that I ever buy anything from any of them, but they do waste plenty of my time. I hate to count the hours I’ve spent leafing through their glossy pages fantasizing about buying lots of things I will never buy. Sometimes I even circle things and choose colors and sizes. As if. The catalogs float around on the counter for a few days and eventually end up in the recycling. I’ve tried several websites that are supposed to do away with junk mail, but still the catalogs come. Not anymore!

I’ve discovered a website called that allows me to opt out of catalogs I don’t want to receive. And Catalogchoice has extracted commitments from these companies to honor my choices. Not every catalog I would like to do away with is listed on Catalogchoice, but most are. In fact, there are catalogs I’ve never even dreamed of listed. And therein lies the danger. As I’m combing the list for catalogs to cancel, I can’t help but notice all the catalogs with intriguing titles. Of course not only does Catalogchoice assist you in canceling catalogs, they will also be happy to hook you up with some new ones. So there is this incredible temptation to find out just what they sell in the Bliss catalog. And what constitutes a Boundless Journey? Just what does a person buy from Handsome Rewards? If you’re not careful canceling catalogs with catalogchoice could be counter productive. Who can resist requesting a catalog called Long Elephant Legs? What do they sell? I have to know.

Some of the companies don’t make it easy for you to cancel. They force you to go to their website or send an e-mail from your own mailbox instead of catalogchoice’s. But the nice part is the website tells you exactly how to get off just about any company’s list. When you choose to stop the catalog, they ask you to click on a reason. Your options include: prefer not to answer (this way you won’t hurt their feelings), prefer shopping online (I worried that this would be a greenlight for said company to swamp my e-mail), no interest in these products (slam!), I want to help the environment (I hide behind this one mostly), and other (but no space to write - ‘because I think your products are overpriced and unnecessary’).

Another great feature that some companies offer is to choose how often you’d like to receive their catalog. Some offer the option of receiving the catalog just once per season or year, etc. Not all of them offer this, apparently. My husband likes getting his Crutchfield catalog so he can dream about all the electronics he could have if he didn’t have children, but the Crutchfield catalog comes just about every month and it would have been nice to change that to once or twice a year. Not an option, so I just nixed it all together (sorry honey!).

I stopped browsing the catalog choices at about the L’s (what’s a Lobstergram? I think I'd like one.) because it was getting too hard to resist wasting even more of my time investigating what they sell in Make Life Easier or Wild Horsefeathers catalogs. Now I’m simply making a pile of catalogs as they arrive in my mailbox and then going to Catalogchoice and searching for each specific catalog and canceling it. Catalogchoice even has a system for complaining if a catalog continues to be delivered to you. Brilliant website and I’m sure someone is making a buck or two from it even if it is a dot-org. I don’t know enough about how they track our activities online, but I bet there’s a kickback or two when someone discovers Bounty Hunter catalog while trying to cancel their Brookstone catalog.

Just today I got confirmation from several companies that they had canceled my catalog subscription so I know that Catalogchoice is not just a schuckster trying to lure me in to even more catalog options, which I suppose is still possible. Hopefully in the end I’ll cancel more than I’ll request. Check out and lighten your own load – less paper to be recycled and less stuff to fill your life and longings.

1 comment:

  1. I will definitely be checking this out and sending to my sisters. Thanks!
    Susan R.