Sherry Young: Junk mail is just that — junk

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 12 2012 5:00 p.m. MST

As usual, the catalogs are crowding our mailbox touting their wares in hopes of tempting us as the season drives everyone into a buying frenzy.

"Just where do they all come from and how do these marketers find us?" I wondered aloud one day. Which, of course, took me right to my computer.

On the website Privacyrights.org, I read some information that sounded right. The explanation was that, "What we call junk mail is actually the result of direct marketing campaigns designed to get you to buy a product or service."

See, the United States Postal Service, because it's facing a slowdown of first-class mail volume, has been making deals with businesses to build up the volume of standard mail. In other words, they are selling us out because we, the fickle public, have changed our mailing habits. We prefer email, tweets and texting to snail mail.

So we deserve what we are getting, and that means when we purchase a product or service with our address, we are added to mailing lists. The product or service is entered into a computer database along with our name and address, and voila! — here come all the magazine, credit card and charity hopefuls. They even rent out their lists because it has become a big business.

Now, I don't mind so much because, after all, we have to try in some small way to keep up with China and India, who are taking away all our information and manufacturing jobs. What I mind is when a seemingly legitimate company whose target market is teenagers and young adults sends me a catalog out of the blue that is just plain nasty.

Remember, I did not ask for them to send it to me, but there was a catalog innocently sitting on my table when my grandchildren came to visit. Because it is clothing they like, of course they picked it up to take a look.

I am aware of the No. 1 smutty catalog producer but didn't realize this other store was following suit. I just got careless by not looking through the mail closely. Had I noticed the front cover to begin with (a young man French-kissing the female model), it would have been thrown away before they found it.

The kids laughed when I noticed the offending cover (there was more suggestive stuff inside) and said, "Grandma, we can handle it."

I pray they can.

Jeepers, if we can't trust the USPS anymore, just whom can we trust?

Certainly not the good old standard television stations. In years past, they kept smut off the air until the kids went to bed. Now the situation comedies are all just one dirty joke after another with laugh-track backup. They are trying to keep up ratings by parroting the "cutting edge" stations on cable and pay-per-view.

From merchandising to television, it's all about business, and smutty gets attention. Did you know that smut spelled backward is Tums? After seeing that catalog's cover and zipping through all the TV channels trying to avoid being "cutting edge," I think I need a dose or two!

Just where is Harold Hill when we need him?

Well, I got that off my chest for now.

But don't say I didn't warn you — buyer, beware!

If you overshop this season, you may discover one day as you go out to your mailbox that mail will come pouring out, knocking you over. Your obituary will read, "Death by junk mail."

Email: sasyoung2@aol.com

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS