I sewed a little embroidered cross stitched picture with little flowers and a saying that reads, “Who Plants a Seed Beneath the Sod, And Waits to See Believes in God.” I bought the kit when I was still in the newlywed state of mind in the 1970’s from one of those little catalogs we all get in our mail boxes. But I have to tell you that, as much as I liked doing the cross stitch and seeing it framed and up on our wall over the years, reading the saying and smiling; as much I as remember thinking that it was neat to get that little trinket filled catalog in the mail; as much as I thought I was grown up because MY name was on the address label; as much as all that— that is how much I wish I had never ordered from that little trinket filled catalog. Why, you ask? (Well even if you don’t ask I’m here to tell you why.) Because as soon as I ordered from that one unobtrusive looking trinket catalog, my name was splashed into a gigantic pool of names; swirled around and spit out to every single mail order outlet in the world. In this century it is akin to computer pop ups. With the computer however, you don’t need a dump truck to go get your mail because the box is stuffed to the hilt like a Thanksgiving turkey.
I too have had to deal with those annoying pop-ups. But then pop-up and spam blockers were invented by a computer genius and my world became happier. There will forever be some un-blockable pop-ups that get through to wave their little flags in my face in my virtual world. But zip, click gone. However there is no zip, click gone of the written word that is delivered daily to my real world in-box. Is there mail blocker? I wonder.
Here is an example of the circle of life of catalogs. Tra-la tra-la, off I go to get the mail. Oh it’s amazing, only seven catalogs today. Hawking everything from vitamins and herbal remedies to new automotive accessories to a car I haven’t had in over twelve years. Even though I have never bought or taken vitamins or herbal anything, I still get the catalog. I’m assuming that my pharmaceutical company sold my name to this herbal company. Swell.
We have never ordered automotive accessories but apparently the car manufacturer got a little something for sharing our name with the company that sells these automotive accessories so now I get this catalog. Who in turn sold our name to the company that sells tires and on our name went to the company that sells all sorts of garage must haves. Like clocks with car pictures and creepers that have giant pictures of “come hither ladies” melted into the plastic liner covering the back board of the creeper… And creepy.
In July we all start getting those Christmas goodies catalogs. You just can’t wait to send off money and get a log of cake with a chocolate raccoon popping his head out of the end of that log. Order early and save, save, save. Well just one order and they have your name for life. It is such a circle.
I have heard tell of people who get magazines and catalogs with inserts of offers on postage paid post cards, who do not fill out the information, they pop the cards into the mail just to cost the companies that insert those cards into the magazines and catalogs money. While I don’t condone that, I am amazed at how someone came up with the idea. I can’t imagine how much the advertizing budget must be for some of the companies that I get two, three or four of the same catalogs from all in one day. Using our names in slightly different variations and address’ that are just a bit different but they seem to get to us. How many catalogs does any company need to send out to be delivered, read and ordered from to make it profitable for a company to send out hundreds of thousands of catalogs? Well by the looks of the trash can and recycling box in our post office—a lot of catalogs…
You know who is the big winner in the catalog wave of paper that you sometimes feel is drowning you? The post office, that’s who. I say good for them. Since cyber land has developed, with e-mail, instant messaging, texting and the like the post office has suffered. So if it takes a forest of trees to make a mountain of catalogs to keep the post office going so that I can send a check through the mail with a stamp for under fifty cents, (well under fifty cents as of today), to order a boat load of gingko biloba, whatever that is, well so be it.
Hats off to those who work in our post offices, they lift each silly catalog lovingly into each little box knowing that each delivery is called job security. So maybe a mail blocker might not be all I think it would be. But that spam blocker is sure a blessing…
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and comments with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.