Why don’t we get as upset by junk mail in our mailbox as we do about junk email? That bundle of marketing mail the letter carriers stuff into every mailbox cuts down trees and pollutes our air and water. It is unasked for, creates litter and contributes to landfill overload. Deforestation is a problem, but we just toss flyers, postcards, brochures, and ads into the trash with little thought.
Junk email—Spam, enrages people, yet we can toss it, filter it, opt out of it, and no landfill or ecosystem gets hurt. Okay, I know that the very act of creating computers and all that is necessary for us to enjoy them causes ecosystem problems, but computer systems aren’t responsible for the Spam, so it’s not the same thing.
I used to sigh in dismay when I was caregiver to my mother. Her Sunday newspaper, was thicker with ads for groceries, retail stores, and the gods-only-knows-what than pages with news.
Spam just fills my email app. It takes less than two seconds to hit “delete,” and poof! it’s gone. I can even filter it to go into the trash before even see it. Oh sure, some spammers find ways around the barriers. In those cases, I just update my filters and the junk is dumped into cyberspace. Bye bye to barnyard babes. So long genuine imitation Rolex watches. Adios President of Nigeria who wants to give me millions of dollars if I only send him my bank account number, credit card numbers, and other important pieces of personal financial information.
Paper junk mail is intrusive, it clutters my home. It reminds me of the wastefulness of our society. It is like uninvited sales people who force their way into my home and won’t leave until I’m rude enough to insist. Granted, I don’t invite sales people into my home. I’m actually pretty abrupt with them so they won’t come back. However, when my moderately dementia-stricken mother was alive she welcomed any one selling anything into her home. I had to rescue Mom more than once from sales people who were sitting in our family room extolling the wonders of their products.
In my never-to-be-humble opinion, these sales people are like trash mail with skin, except that they have feelings and are only trying to make a living. Trashy junk mail, on the other hand, can be shouted at, ripped apart and it can take the brunt of my wrath with out crying or suffering hurt feelings.
And while I’m on that topic, why are there still sales people who go from door to door?. First of all, it has to be a dangerous job these days. It seems to me that wackos are more plentiful in nice neighborhoods than they used to be. Maybe not, it just appears that way to me. In the 1960’s I took on the role of an Avon Lady in Napa Valley, CA. People were pleasant. They invited me in and bought cosmetics while offering me tea or coffee. I knew which areas to avoid.
When I was caretaking for my mother, I lived in a clean, middle class neighborhood with lawns, gardeners, SUVs, stucco houses with tiled roofs, and kids on soccer teams. In spite of all that, there was guy running a meth lab in his house on the corner of our street. You never know what lies behind that freshly painted white door with the brass handle. Cue spooky laugh.
But, back to sales people. Either on the phone or at my door, I am abrupt and quick. “No thank you. I’m not interested,” or more recently, “I’m not going to buy anything, and I’m not a member of your church.” I then abruptly close door. I do the same with telemarketers. If there is a pause for more than two seconds, or if the caller asks for Mr. … or Mrs. … I immediately say, “Sorry, I’m not interested, please remove us from your call list.” I guess I learned how to do that when I was in Egypt. There, if you look a hawker in the eye or try to refuse politely, he hounds you mercilessly, even following you down the street. Best to avert eyes or give a strong, “No.”
Here’s my theory. Sales people work hard, harder than I would want to. Their time is valuable. Each second spent with someone who is being polite but definitely not going to buy is wasted for them. I am saving them that time by not letting them run on about the insurance, new windows, solar panels, a worthy cause for my donation, magazine subscriptions, Girl Scout cookies, sports uniforms, or whatever else. They may feel a bit slighted, but now they have more time to spend on someone who might actually fork over some dollars.
I am a hard sell. Although I have to admit to a soft spot for little boys with big brown eyes seeking donations for school projects, which brings me to another rant. Schools. Due to complicated economics that I don’t even faintly understand, schools and education are the fodder for government officials to yank money from. I can’t place blame because I don’t have a clue why or how that happens. I just know that when the going gets tough, education gets the axe.
When I was in school, God… I sound old. No, I’m not going to say that I trekked miles through the snow barefoot to attend a one room schoolhouse and read my books by candlelight, but I am going to say that everything was much better. Until college, we didn’t have to pay for anything. Books, pencils, any uniforms, events, sports, dances, field trips, special guests, concerts, band, orchestra, and more were all provided for free. In college, I was a state resident so my tuition was next to nothing. Books were cheap, and it was do-able. I didn’t need a student loan. I worked as a waitress and other get-me-by jobs, had an apartment, and went to school. All on my own. Don’t see that happening much anymore.
Now, sweet kids come to my door asking for donations, or hawk candy (which I don’t eat) to pay for school uniforms or a trip to somewhere. Sad, sad, sad. On the other hand, maybe it is teaching kids responsibility, helping them to experience the world in a more realistic way? If they don’t get handouts all the time, maybe they will be more prepared for life? It’s a tough call. Maybe it’s both. It’s nice to be taken care of. It’s nice to be responsible and know how to live in a competitive world successfully.
For example, I have almost always had cats as pets. They got everything handed to them on a literal platter. They wanted for nothing. I shouldn’t be taken aback by how demanding and ungrateful the little fuzz brains became. Bless them. Maybe it’s the same with kids?
I’ll leave you with a special Monty Python treat about Spam. Click HERE
How do you cope with spam?