When you gooo, will you send back a letter from America?
December 31, 2009 10:58 AM   Subscribe

What are some cool things I can get in exchange for a self addressed stamp envelope and maybe a small fee?

It's fun to get things in the mail. I just recently sent in a SASE in exchange for a sourdough starter.

Is there any other kind of item I can get in exchange for a SASE (and maybe a token fee/donation), or has that ship mostly sailed with the advent of email and modern postal security? I don't care what it's for, I'm just curious.
posted by mccarty.tim to Grab Bag (16 answers total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
High Weirdness By Mail is a little old by now, but it's still an excellent guide to how you can get weird things in the mail simply by expressing a little interest. Generally, I have found something along the lines of "I am interested in..." can get you a lot of literature without having you to commit to anything.
posted by jonp72 at 11:11 AM on December 31, 2009

Send me a SASE and I'll send you an envelope of stickers.
posted by jessamyn at 11:17 AM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Laughing Squid stickers.

If you are into gardening: milkwood seeds (food source for monarch butterflies), wildflowers. Additionally, many gardening boards do SASE seed exchanges.
posted by jamaro at 11:18 AM on December 31, 2009

Send me a SASE and I'll send you some of my kids' artwork.

After this AskMe I joined PostCrossing. You send a postcard to some random person and when that person says they received it somebody else sends you a postcard. I've sent mine out and now I'm waiting to receive. I know that's not exactly what you're looking for, but it's along the same lines.
posted by TooFewShoes at 11:25 AM on December 31, 2009 [2 favorites]

A really nice guy at Any Three Words will send you a personalized good luck coin simply in exchange for a little story. No SASE involved, but he does take paypal donations.
posted by Juicy Avenger at 11:42 AM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Carl's sourdough starter.
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:43 AM on December 31, 2009

D'oh, you have Carl's. (I was really happy to get my starter.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:49 AM on December 31, 2009

Also, as a result of your question, I came across the Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder.
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:55 AM on December 31, 2009

i'll send you some neat stuff.

you can send me a SASE if you want, but i don't mind to just pop some random stuff in the mail. i love sending mail.

PM me if you like.
posted by gursky at 4:19 PM on December 31, 2009

Free 3-D Glasses!
posted by exphysicist345 at 5:42 PM on December 31, 2009

You can get a free Car Talk "Drive Now...Talk Later" bumper sticker for a SASE.

Car Talk also used to give away a "Live Larger, Drive Smaller!" sticker for a SASE but it looks like that page hasn't been updated recently (it refers to 41 cents for postage instead of 44 cents), so I'm not sure if the offer is still valid.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 5:58 PM on December 31, 2009

When I was a kid (early 80s?) we had one or two books that were called something like "Free Stuff For Kids" - and it was this very thing. Send a letter, sometimes with a SASE, occasionally with a buck, and you get stickers and stuff back in the mail. A google for that title comes up with some websites...
posted by attercoppe at 11:18 PM on December 31, 2009

Do No Harm bumper sticker, bracelet or decal.
posted by davar at 4:05 AM on January 1, 2010

At age five, I wrote a letter to Sherlock Holmes. My parents helped, but not much. I remember addressing the envelope only with his name, and just 221B Baker Street, London England. I wrote that I liked his story and I think I dimly remember that I wrote something about also liking tigers (?). I'm sure my Mom and Dad thought that would be the end of it, but imagine my surprise several months later when I got a letter back. A very kind lady wrote to me and said she was Dr. Holmes's secretary, and that he was on an extended trip to India, and urged me to be a good boy and listen to my parents and do my best in school, and that she would forward my letter to the great detective, who always enjoyed hearing from his fans. (This would have been about 1973.)

I have occasionally (two or three times) written other letters to to Sherlock Holmes in the years since then (I even wrote to him in 1990 from Saudi Arabia during the first Desert Storm), and they have always been answered. I don't know what happened to the sweet old secretary, but tone has gradually changed. The most recent (unsigned) letter-- about five years ago-- told me that Holmes had recently retired and taken up beekeeping and human DNA studies in his retirement, and closed by urging me to come visit 221B Baker Street in England where there is now a Sherlock Holmes museum.

I don't really mind the more blatant commercial pitch in comparison with my first letters-- after all, you are still writing to a fictional character , and getting an actual real letter in reply. Four decades later, it still slightly boggles my mind. So I don't object too much if I have to read about Holmes's newest multi-level-marketing offerings. The thing is-- they are still writing back to children (and the occasional odd adult like myself) all over the world. And that's a rare thing. I can't tell you how many emails and faxes I've sent to Moby Dick and that pale pasty S.O.B. has never once replied to me!
posted by seasparrow at 7:01 AM on January 1, 2010 [11 favorites]

Not quit the same, but.

My friends sent one of their wedding invitations to the White House. They received back a signed RSVP form ol' Barack and Michelle respectfully declining the generous invitation.
posted by Widepath at 7:05 PM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

When I was a kid, there was a PSA on TV about getting a catalogue of free stuff from the US Government's Federal Citizen Information Center by sending a SASE to Pueblo, Colorado, 81009.
posted by I am the Walrus at 7:51 AM on January 4, 2010

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