I was paying bills the other day and as I was tossing all the old envelopes and extra paper in a pile to be thrown away later, I noticed what a large collection of trash I was accumulating. I started to pay a bit more attention as I was opening the envelopes and noticed that each bill that I had received had an additional page or two of paper enclosed that was advertising something. In other words, I was getting junk mail inside my real mail!
Now usually, when junk mail comes to my home or my business box, I recognize that it is junk and I cull it out right there on the spot and then throw it in the trash. On any given day, the wastebasket at the local post office is overflowing with my own personal trash. At home, the junk mail doesn’t even make it past the door into the house. I toss it in the large garbage can on the deck right near the door. Only the important and the legitimate mail actually get past the threshold of office or home.
But now, these sneaky snakes are getting pretty darn slippery and treacherous in the way they are getting their junk into my home. Nobody asked me if they could put junk mail in the same envelope with my legit stuff. Inside the envelope containing my mortgage statement from the savings and loan is an unwanted ad telling me about some new investment. In my frequent flyer report is an ad for a rental car company. The bill for my rental car has an ad for a hotel chain. Inside my phone bill is a brochure for new Internet service. My Internet server inserts an application for a new credit card and in my credit card bill is a brochure advertising new home loans.
Now follow along with my thinking here, please. No. 1: I don’t want this stuff in the first place. No. 2: Anything you do not want or need and have to throw away is garbage. Right? Right!! No. 3: Every time I open my mail and pay my bills, these people are sending me pieces of waste that I have to throw away! I did not ask for it and I don’t want it. They obviously do not want it either, or they would have kept it. But they sent it to me so that I have to be the one to throw it out.
In other words, folks, these people are sending me garbage that I have to throw out for them. I have to gather it up and put it in the trash. I have to carry it to the street for pickup and I have to pay to have it hauled to my city landfill.
Those of you who know me well know where this is headed and are slapping your foreheads with your palms and saying things like: “Oh, no! He didn’t, did he??”
Yep. I did. Turnabout is fair play. If I have to get garbage in my mail that I am expected to get rid of, then why shouldn’t the people who started this whole thing get some of mine in return? So, the last time I paid my usual pile of bills – if I got any garbage that I had to throw away – they got a bit of mine to toss out too. A used tissue here, an old coffee filter there, a banana peel panel in with the MasterCard, a few dust bunnies and some dryer lint to the phone company . . . . well, you get the picture.
Oh, I was polite about it. No reason to get nasty. I just enclosed a small note with each that said: “Please throw this away for me. Thank you.”
I figure it is their move next. They started this “trash through the mail” program, I just sort of . . . got into the spirit of it is all.
I figure that bills are bad enough as they are. I mean once a month I sit down at the table with a checkbook, a pen, a calculator and I start to hemorrhage money. Sometimes paying the monthly bills will determine how many leftovers I have to eat or whether or not that meat that is only medium green will get thrown out or become a very well done casserole the next time I cook.
So, to all of you out there who are sending me bills or to whom I owe money – just the bill, please. I will pay it and return it in the nice envelope you give me. However, if I have to throw out something of yours that you snuck into my home or office – well then – I am sure you will not mind doing the same for me. Have the decency to send all your unwanted stuff in its own envelope so I can throw it away at the post office. Each of us can deal with our own trash. What’s fair is fair.