Procrastination Nation

Things that Robert is thinking about that keep him from accomplishing anything.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2003
Junk Mail No More!
After getting back from my 11-day trip to Maryland, I went to my apartment complex's mailbox to get my accumulated mail. I had put a hold on the mail, so it was all nicely bundled in a rubber band. Most of the usual contents were there. Some bills. Two issues of the New Yorker. Only one of my print copies of the Madison edition of The Onion. (Could I be more conformist?)

One thing was blissfully absent: junk mail. That's right, they deliver nothing that is not addressed specifically to you. No "Resident." No "Dear Postal Patron." Not even an "Our Neighbor at." No coupons. No coupon booklets. No postcards about missing children last seen in 1993 with their father, complete with computer generated forecasts of their current appearance. I no longer know if I can get 2 subs for $4 at Arby's. Or where to get my brakes and alignment done. Or whether the new person I just met is actually a long-missing child.

God dammit, why didn't I think of this sooner?!?!

Given that a national "do not mail" list is unlikely to be forthcoming, you can do the next best thing. Go to your post office and get a stack of those yellow "hold mail" cards. Fill them out for 1 or 2 week increments, marking that they should deliver the mail on the day you return. For best results, pick a day of the week that you don't get junk mail (usually Mondays in my area) so that when they deliver your backlog of mail, you won't accidentally get any junk.

The best part of this is that those yellow cards are free to pick up and free to mail. I'm going to try it for the next couple of weeks and report back to you. If others of you try this, let me know whether you have any success.

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