. . . Thursday December 23, 2004

Don’t Blame the Messenger

With email and other forms of communication on the rise, it makes sense that people are sending fewer letters. Last year, for the first time ever, first class mail made up less than half of the Postal Service’s total volume.

So why does your postman look even more exhausted than usual this holiday season? Because, while the light stuff like Christmas Cards, holiday photos and personal letters are on the wane, there are more thick catalogs than ever.

And why, in this era of broadband internet connections, online shopping engines and ecommerce sites for just about every product, are we seeing a surge in the number of catalogs stuffing our mailboxes?

There are two reasons. First, the do not call lists and other anti-telemarketing measures have made it more difficult to reach you by phone. Second, because it works.

And there’s the rub. Want the junk out of your mailbox? Figure out a way to convince your neighbors across the country to stop ordering stuff. Want your email inbox to be spam-free for eternity? No problem. Just make sure no one buys things from people who send them spam.

In the meantime, be kind to your local postal-person this time of year. A tip would be nice. A tube of Bengay even better.

Concentration is important!