Keep on opting-out!

 

The top search lately is “opt-out Geico”. Here’s that link:

http://optout.geico.com/marketing/

Before I used that opt-out link, I was getting several Geico mailings a week, my husband too. Now we get one or two a year, I’m guessing, those are mailed to the entire general public, and there’s a loophole somewhere that makes it legal to include those of us who’ve opted out.  All I can say is, it’s better than before.

Really, when I was a young housewife, all caught up in saving the planet so my progeny could destroy it, our mailbox used to get crammed almost every day with every manner of advertising shit. I complained to the post office, who told me I could contact the sender at whatever address they put on the mailer and they were legally bound to take me off their list. But, I was left to find that contact information – most of them didn’t have any contact information. And there were so many – in the days before computer, junk mail was all they had.

I did notice, most had a phone number you could call to advertise with them. Yeah, I know – “Juanita, get a life!” Well, ‘scuse my crude-as-usual language, but when something gets up my ass, I shit it out.

It wasn’t very fun, that’s for sure.  When I called a mailer based in Paradise, just 20 minutes up the hill,  and repeated what the post office had told me, the man on the other end of the phone called me a “lying little whore” and hung up. The owner of a Chico-based mailer was alot more polite but acted stupid when he told me he could only take me off for three months at a time, then I’d be “right back on it again!” He acted as though he bore no responsibility – “it’s those damned computers!” 

Others were based across the country, no address. One mailer had a physical address in Connecticut – “The Shopper” or something like that. I sent them a letter and I never got another one of those.

As computers took over for mail the amount of junk dropped off dramatically, but the same standards kept rolling in. The worst is the Market Value Place sent out each  Wednesday by daily newspapers across the country. Here’s how it works – the weekly mailer is sent out to everybody, non-subscribers as well as subscribers. That way, a newspaper like the Enterprise Record can tell it’s advertisers that they will hit not only subscribers but non-subscribers – that’s called, “total market saturation.” It’s made to look like a little tabloid newspaper, with all these slick ads folded up inside. It’s like a pile of garbage stuffed into your mail box.  You know, I can use newsprint for little chores, wiping greasy pans, or wrapping messy garbage, but the slick stuff is just landfiller. You can’t recycle it, it’s just plain garbage – I’m guessing most people just walk them from the mail box to the  garbage can.

People have complained to me that they’ve gone out of town and found multiple issues strangling their mailbox when they come home, at the expense of their “real mail.” The post office is paid and required to deliver these, and they know MVP’s lawyers have sharper teeth than you do.

No, there’s no phone number or address or any opt-out information in this pile of dead tree litter. Again, you can’t complain to the post office anymore because they are so dependent on junk mailers and congressional bail-outs to keep them in business. Every week it would come and I’d get pissed off again, it was like a little biting fly.  I knew it must be produced locally, and then one day, I noticed – the phone number to advertise in this thing is the same number to subscribe to the Enterprise Record. 

Ha!  Those long summers eating Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys mysteries for breakfast lunch and dinner did not go to waste!

So I called the number, and I said I’d like to get off the mailing list for Market Value Place.   The woman who answered put me on hold and never came back. When I called again she said something rude, laughed like the kind of night dweller that works newspaper circulation, and hung up with a flourish.

That was during my much-chronicled adventures with the Sustainability Task Force.  The city had this group, they got $taff time, I figured it might be worth a try to go to them. After I explained the situation to them, I was shocked how little they cared.  All I wanted was for the rag to include opt-out information – which was the law, according to the post office. The city lawyer, old Lori Bark-bark-barker, said she couldn’t find any such law!  I asked her if she called the Chico Postmaster – no was all she said.  One member, BT Chapman, warned the group, they shouldn’t piss off the newspaper! 

At least city staffer Linda Herman took me seriously – she worked with me to get the Enterprise Record to dedicate one of their staffers to taking opt-out requests. They will actually remove your name now, and it’s good for a few years. When I started getting them again last year, all I had to do was contact dedicated staffer Jenny Jurdana, at jjurdana@chicoer.com, and she took me right off again. I assume that’s been working for everybody, cause I haven’t had any complaints.

But, I’ll tell you what – it puts the paper in a tight position – False Advertising, and even kind of fraud, really. They tell these clients that they will get “total market saturation” – how’s that work if people can just take their name off the list. I can see how if that got around it might cause them some problems, so no, they still don’t have opt-out information on the rag itself, which is illegal, and furthermore, dishonest, double-dealing, and deceitful.

Keep fighting folks! 

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