Are you receiving an extraordinary volume of catalogs?
November 14, 2018 1:02 PM   Subscribe

Are you receiving an extraordinary volume of catalogs in the run-up to the holiday season? We seem to be.

It happens every year about this time. Retailers know that we are in the mood to open our wallets and they want to put their wares in front of us. In the past, it's been catalogs from companies we buy from more or less regularly along with those from companies we may have bought from in the far distant past. This year, it's been an avalanche. For example, over a half-dozen alone from food companies I had never heard of.

Sure, mailing lists get bought and sold. That comes with the territory. But this is like nothing before. We're not in a wealthy ZIP Code. What's the deal?

Finally, any tips for getting off these lists? I don't want to repeat this next year.
posted by John Borrowman to Shopping (9 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
DMAchoice is a service run by the Direct Mail Association that allows you to opt out of paper catalog mail for a broad swath of catalogs, rather than doing it piece by piece. There is a $2 processing fee to stop direct mail to your address for 10 years. Most of the large catalog retailers are members, and it will be very effective. However, it does take a bit (usually 8-12 weeks) to kick in.

Truthfully "the deal" is that catalog retailers have found that direct mail still works better than anything else. Email you'll delete unread. Instagram or Buzzfeed or Pintrest you have to actively go to. FB and online ads you block. But mail in your mailbox gets your attention, even for 30-60 seconds, and keeps their name top of mind for you.
posted by anastasiav at 1:14 PM on November 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


I don't know of any magic trick, but there's usually contact info buried somewhere in the mailer. Contact them and ask to be removed from all of their databases. Do this every time.

Red Plum, for instance, has a phone number on the spine you can call for "advertising" and you can get a human who will remove you, but they only remove you for 5 years at a time!
posted by aniola at 1:15 PM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


but there's usually contact info buried somewhere in the mailer

FYI, if a retailer is mailing to you via a rented list, they can't remove your name because they don't "own" you until you purchase from them, so calling a company that you've never purchased from doesn't really do any good. They can just re-rent you multiple times, and one rental typically gives them access to mail to you a few times.

Calling to remove from mailing list is fine for companies you've actually shopped with (or been given a gift from), but if you've never had contact before you're a rental and there isn't any way for them to block you, because they don't "own" your address.
posted by anastasiav at 1:18 PM on November 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


Catalog Choice! It can take a while to enter the info of all the catalogs you want to make stop, but it's free and after a month or two, they really do stop.
posted by gueneverey at 1:19 PM on November 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


We've been getting a ton more catalogues this year than previous years and if we had saved them all I'm sure we've gotten duplicates.
posted by GuyZero at 1:23 PM on November 14, 2018


Seconding Catalog Choice. An account is free, and I've had great success with them helping me get off mailing lists.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:24 PM on November 14, 2018


Thirding Catalog Choice.
posted by telophase at 1:46 PM on November 14, 2018


The PaperKarma app lets you take a photo of your mailing label for each catalog and unsubscribes for you. Often it even automatically knows which catalog it is; sometimes you need to tell it.
posted by metasarah at 1:47 PM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


The other thing you can do is stop buying things new. With the occasional exception for building materials, I don't shop at anything without a local ownership. The only catalogue I've ever received in the mail at my current address is for seeds, and that was by my request. Shop local.

If you must shop with larger companies, pay in cash. This holds true for donating money as well. Donations to a large non-profit will get your name on a list, and will get your contact info sold to other non-profits.
posted by aniola at 3:53 PM on November 14, 2018


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