Photo courtesy of U.S. Postal Service
What’s your snail mail like these days? Yesterday, I received four items that went something like this:
• My university alumni association is offering some sort of financial analysis for retirement. There was a small fee, I believe, and a bank involved.
• A cell phone data service is presenting an invoice for commodity marketing services that were initially offered for free. It’s entirely unclear whether I’m being billed for future or past services. The confusion seems intentional.
• A magazine is automatically renewing my subscription, which doesn’t expire until July. Unless I go to the effort of contacting the publisher, I will keep paying.
• A legal firm is offering to enroll me in a class action suit against several manufacturers of lawnmowers. The suit claims that the defendants overstated the power of the engine on the machine I bought last summer.
Is there not a common thread in all of these mailings?
The university is getting into a business outside of its mission. The data service is trying to confuse me as to whether I owe them or not. The magazine is making it inconvenient for me to end my subscription (even though that’s not my aim). And the class action group is trying to involve me in a frivolous legal action that could net me $35 some day.
I remember when waiting for the mail was pleasant part of the day's drama. But, that was back when everyone wrote cards and letters instead of e-mail.
A trip to the mailbox used to be one of the great joys of daily life. At the farm, a quarter-mile stroll to the main road was filled with anticipation, and gratification coming back, as we sorted through our new magazines and letters from family and friends. Even the junk mail seemed entertaining.
Of course, e-mail can be awful for its miasma of dirty deals, false advertising, and confounding wordiness. But, you better watch out for the U.S. mail.