One woman’s junk mail is another’s goldmine
Since November 1 to December 9, our household has received 121 pieces of junk mail.
Why am I counting this? Well, a few reasons. Mostly I’m interested because I used to do this sort of thing for a living. Second we live in some sort of junk mail hotspot.
When the first Christmas catalogue came out before Melbourne Cup, I remembered how many we got last year and wondered how much it was. So far: 121 pieces.
Junk mail, unaddressed mail or ‘householder’ if you’re a former postie, is either the bane of your existence or the crux of your shopping week.
I know there are people who take it straight from their letter box and put it in the recycling bin. Forget you! You don’t know what you’re missing!
Junk mail is entertainment. Before I had no money, I used to think about all the things I could spend my money on. Now I have no money, I dream of all the things I would spend my money on if I had it.
I know I’m not the only parent who’s used it to entertain her kids. Before my daughter was 1-years-old, I’d give her a wad of junk mail to crush up and it would keep her amused for a long time. A really thick brochure could last for days.
A friend of mine uses toy catalogues to help his boys budget and teach them about saving money.
Yet another has their children cut things out or circle them so they don’t get the Christmas shopping wrong.
One of the most useful Apps on the Iphone or Ipad is Lasoo. It’s an electronic junk mail repository. All the major retailers who produce a catalogue put them on Lasoo. Thoughtful consumers can put up a ‘no junk mail’ sign on their letterbox and save the planet one Myer, Big W or Aldi catalogue at a time and refer to Lasoo in times of price comparison.
Because my in-laws live in New Zealand, it fell on me to find something on their behalf for my daughter for Christmas. Unfortunately, it was the day after the recycling bin had been taken away.
I referred to the Lasoo app to do my research, looked at who stocked the thing, various prices and locations and… voila! Job done. Now all I need to do is assemble it and put a bow on it.
Despite Lasoo, I still love getting the huge roll of catalogues and sitting down with a cuppa and going through them.
The only catalogue I really don’t like is the Bunnings catalogue – I like photos. Sketches aren’t my thing.
My order of preference to read junk mail is: DL real estate flyers, pizza or other fat food go straight into the bin; tyre catalogues never get opened; camping stuff with the tyre catalogues; toys and seasonal; supermarkets; variety, furniture and speciality stores; department stores and finally: the Aldi catalogue.
There is nothing better than the Aldi catalogue for sheer range, entertainment and interest. Sometimes I get to the part where they sell food and I remember: That’s right! They sell food!
I remember when Wayne Swan was in opposition and started up a local supermarket price watch thing online. His boffins would go out, or not, and write down prices of things and send them into him. He or his staff, would put them up on the website, and his constituents could do comparison shopping.
He said this was so successful, he tried to make it a national thing. We know what happened to that, don’t we?
One day I was sitting on a seat at the shopping centre down the road from Swan’s office, and two old ladies sat next to me. They both remarked that they couldn’t find the latest supermarket catalogue and it hadn’t been delivered to their homes. As I had one on me, I gave it to them.
Junk mail is a great leveller. While an 80-year-old lady might never use the internet, she can get to her letterbox or have someone bring her junkmail in to her.
According to friends in the direct mass marketing business, it doesn’t matter if 90% of us don’t read our junk mail, if 10% of us do and act on it, then the advertiser will make a profit.
So when Queensland supermarkets introduced price parity last year, I don’t think it had anything to do with various current affairs programs saying it was cheaper to buy butter in Logan than Ashgrove. It was probably more cost effective to produce one catalogue as it was to produce 17.
In support of junk mail, I’ll leave you with this thought from a former Postie.
“When I was a postie, there was always the little ones to think of and as they mostly always came out to the letter box when they heard me coming along I always made a point being able to at least them give them something. That’s where ‘householders’ came in handy. Most of us old hands always kept some householders back to give to the kids. None of us were interested to see the kids go away empty handed even if Mum did put them straight into the bin.”
I love it!
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