Stamping Down On Junk Mail

Do you get junk in the mail? Of course you do: we all do. And I am getting a little tired of it. I can screen my phone calls for telemarketers and I have a pretty nifty spam filter on my computer, but somebody needs to do something about the clutter in my mailbox.

I’ve talked to Tom, my mailman. I’ve even given him full authority to stuff any questionable or unsolicited correspondence down the sewer. Tom’s afraid he may accidentally throw out a utility bill. I told him not to worry about that. These things happen.

I know I’m not the first person to write about junk mail. I wasn’t the first humorist to complain about junk food. I’ve written stories about all the junk in my basement. I admitted last year in a column that I once invested in junk bonds.

No one has written about more junk than I have.

Which brings me back to my mailbox, a mailbox that just yesterday contained the seductive MoneyMailer. These hefty little packets are filled with tantalizing coupons—discounts that are the answer to your every prayer, assuming at least one of your prayers is to find nine different companies that will shampoo six rooms of carpet for $34.95.

There are also coupons I usually forget to use or I can’t find when I order pizza, or I call the wrong pizza place, or by the time I try to use them they are expired, or I really don’t want cinnamon rolls with my pizza.

I noticed a coupon for a one-night stay in a lavish suite that included a luxurious bath and peticure for only $23.00. I inquired, but when I discovered it was a kennel, I knew my wife wouldn’t enjoy it. Oh wait, I get it: PETicure.

Cleaning seems to be an obsession with the companies that advertise in these mailers. There are always services that clean your air ducts—something I have never done in 30 years of home ownership, which might explain my murky complexion. Now that I’ve mentioned this, salespeople will be calling me in the morning, and because I’m an easy mark, strange men will be crawling up my vents by noon tomorrow.

A great many dentists use coupons to market their services to potential new patients. Maybe the novocaine makes them insensitive.


Here’s my favorite from the pack, a “personal letter” from a colorectal physician:


Because the YOU was BOLDED, in all CAPS and in italics, I became extremely uncomfortable, which I think is their goal. They made it seem like everyone else in Central Indiana had made their appointment already but I was just sitting on my…well, I was delaying the whole process—let’s just put it that way.

Taking care of our health should be a priority. This is a good time to think about required diagnostic procedures, even those advocated in promotional ads.  If presidents can form exploratory committees, it’s probably a good idea for all of us.

Dick Wolfsie spent his career sharing his humor, stories and video essays on television, radio and in newspapers. His columns appear weekly in The Paper of Montgomery County. E-mail Dick at Wolfsie@