predict my future: prison or evening news?
October 11, 2006 9:17 PM   Subscribe

predict my future: prison or evening news?

I am sure you all know these cards. they fall out of every magazine and newspaper you get. subscribe now! one thousand percent off! business reply mail! no postage necessary if mailed in the united states!

I always hated these things. even magazines I already subscribed to sent me five or six with every issue and they had a nasty habit of falling out when I wasn't looking. don't bother hiding your dirty magazines if you don't feel like retracing your steps through the living room.

so I decided to store these cards. instead of throwing them into the trash, I filled a vacant kitchen drawer. and another one. there was room below the kitchen sink, so I delegated a few more there. I think that now, six months later, I have around 5,000 (yes, I do read a lot) and it's time to get rid off them.

I have a video camera, spray-mount and an idea.
I want to make a christmas movie for the conde nasties.

would it be legal to attach these return postcards to heavy junk and throw them into a mailbox? would they have to pay? could I get into trouble? (I of course intend to milk the PR - I after all do hope they will finally stop attaching this junk.)
posted by krautland to Law & Government (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Prison, on grounds of unoriginality.
posted by paulsc at 9:23 PM on October 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

Does it have to be either/or? Maybe neither/nor?
posted by ontic at 9:26 PM on October 11, 2006

Response by poster: oh snap! at least someone told me before. (thanks.)

now what do I do with them?
posted by krautland at 9:27 PM on October 11, 2006

now what do I do with them?

Does your city have a recycling program?
posted by aubilenon at 9:33 PM on October 11, 2006

1. My totally baseless opinion: not legal. I believe repurposing bulk rate mail postage in this manner (i.e. to deliver a package rather than the intended mail item) is mail fraud.

2. It also won't work. These are coded for a specific parameter of mail, in this case a postcard. When scanned at their first USPS stop the discrepancy will be noticed, and halted.

3. You could get into trouble if I am correct and you were caught at it. If so, remember that it's a federal rap. Meaning you may be detained forever without charges AND tortured, I'm pretty sure.

4. There ain't a snowballs chance you're going to affect their business practices - they probably get thousands of people screwing with these things every month, you'll just be a drop in the bucket.

5. Probably wholly legal - modifying the cards in a manner that does not change their postal parameters (dimensions and weight). Writing and drawing on them, in other words. If you prepped them all ahead and sent them all at once it would at least raise some eyebrows.

6. I wonder if there are expiration dates on those bulk rate postal permits though, to prevent this very sort of thing? I bet there are.
posted by nanojath at 9:37 PM on October 11, 2006

Along the same lines: I take all junk mail that's sent to me, tear it up, and put it in the return envelope and drop it in the postal box.
posted by dobbs at 9:47 PM on October 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

You're not going to get a lot of PR. I think the AOL disc thing milked the "over-the-top advertising" meme for all it was worth. Not to sound cynical.

Why not make some artwork with all the flyers?
posted by ifranzen at 9:48 PM on October 11, 2006

I need to point out that you're hiding your dirty magazines, but your overnight guests are going to open a kitchen drawer and find it (and another, and the space below the sink... picture the mounting Hitchcockian tension as s/he opens drawer after drawer) are full, full, full to bursting with meticulously stacked magazine postcards...? All carefully saved against the day when you can wreak your vengeance on your postal oppressors?

You need to get rid of this evidence of your madness.

Have a party. Invite friends, buy a bunch of crayons and booze and go to town decorating these things. Then send them back.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:21 PM on October 11, 2006

predict my future: prison or evening news?

If you fill them with talcum powder and send them off in the mail, both :)
posted by wackybrit at 10:22 PM on October 11, 2006

regarding nanojath and lobstermitten's suggestions: i can tell you for certain that only very, very small magazines with in-house fulfillment staffs will care or even notice if you deface, alter, modify, or draw the next american masterpiece on a BRC. most of them go to 3rd-party fulfillment houses that handle multiple publications and are staffed by people whose jobs are to key in subscription data as quickly as possible from card after card after endless tide of cards -- no time to stop and smell the culture jamming.

it would be kind of like messing with telemarketers. possibly rewarding in some retributional way, but at the price of hassling a working peon whose job is almost certainly way worse than yours.
posted by sonofslim at 10:30 PM on October 11, 2006

Ok, so have a party with booze and friends during which you offer prizes for:
-tallest structure made only of subscription cards that can support weight n
-best crayon rendering of a recognized canonical masterpiece of western art (eg sistine chapel ceiling)
Take pictures.
And then, when the sun comes up and your friends crawl home, recycle the cards.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:42 PM on October 11, 2006

krautland, if it helps your telltale-smut dilemma, these free-floating cards are called blow-ins (after the method most publishers use to insert them). Here are some other things you might do with your collection.
posted by rob511 at 10:47 PM on October 11, 2006

Use your computer/printer to fill them all out with the name/address of the company that sent them, then drop them into the mail.

Might take a while.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 7:50 AM on October 12, 2006

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