Monday, July 28, 2008

Goodbye Catalog Clutter: Six Month Recap

It’s been six months since I posted last about signing up with CatalogChoice and canceling every catalog that I had in the house at the time. Originally, I canceled 28 catalogs. The total number of catalogs that I tried to discontinue to date is 44. How did it go? Exceedingly well, I have to say!

I open my mailbox now and I only have bills, statements and personal notes for the most part. I don't need a huge bin from the Post Office to pick up my mail for the week when I am away. It's somewhat liberating.

A few observations on the process:
  • There are a few catalogs that happily confirm the request and you never see another catalog from them in your mailbox again (like Crate and Barrel and Sur la Table).
  • However, in my experience, most of the businesses do not confirm your request immediately. If you continue to receive the catalogs for six weeks after your initial request, you can request to opt out again. Eventually, most of the businesses get the message. There are a few catalogs for which I have had to request an opt-out more than twice. This is easily handled through CatalogChoice and requires only a few mouse clicks.
  • There were a couple of catalogs that we received that would arrive with a new customer number after we opted out of the original customer number. Tricky. I’ve had to opt out of four different customer numbers for more than one catalog. Thankfully, they’ve stopped arriving as well. Persistence was required, however.
  • There were a few catalogs that showed up as “Not participating” in the CatalogChoice program. These businesses are refusing to process opt-out requests through CatalogChoice. In these cases, CatalogChoice provides the phone number to call to verbally request to be taken off of the mailing lists. Of the 44 catalogs that I requested to no longer receive, there were only 4 that fall into this category: Macy’s (and you know I loathe Macy’s), Saks Fifth Avenue, The Country House and Fannie May (though I haven’t received a Fannie May catalog since I made the request).
Honestly, I rarely looked at the catalogs that made it to my mailbox. I never asked for them and I really didn’t have much use for them. If I want to see something, I pull it up online. My mailbox is seriously thankful to me for lightening its load. When I initially wrote about signing up with them, they had over a half-million members and its membership had collectively opted out of over 6 million catalogs. Today, the site boasts more than 963,000 members and reports that their membership has canceled over 12,600,000 catalogs. That’s a lot of resources no longer being wasted for marketing that wasn’t working in the first place.

If you’re even the least bit interested in cutting down your catalog clutter, you should consider giving CatalogChoice a try. No regrets here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a great suggestion. We get a lot of catalogs. We actually look at a lot of them (but rarely buy) but it's still a waste of paper.

Now if only there were something you could do to protect your mailbox from hit-and-run accidents!