The NYT just ran an excellent story about various ways (and reasons) that people rebel against small annoyances in everyday life. Some people mail subscription cards back blank just to use up the magazine’s postage, others (like myself) immediately hit “0” when dialing a customer service line because we know that the “Please listen carefully to the following options because our menu has changed” thing is complete bullshit. This article has some great ideas for costing intrusive companies money and having a little fun while you’re at it! Yeah, sometimes these acts do nothing except make you feel good, but that’s important too, right? Thanks to my friend Randy F. for passing this along.
Wesley A. Williams spent more than a year exacting his revenge against junk mailers. When signing up for a no-junk-mail list failed to stem the flow, he resorted to writing at the top of each unwanted item: “Not at this address. Return to sender.” But the mail kept coming because the envelopes had “or current resident” on them, obligating mail carriers to deliver it, he said.
Next, he began stuffing the mail back into the “business reply” envelope and sending it back so that the mailer would have to pay the postage. “That wasn’t exacting a heavy enough cost from them for bothering me,” said Mr. Williams, 35, a middle school science teacher who lives in Melrose, N.Y., near Albany.
After checking with a postal clerk about the legality of stepping up his efforts, he began cutting up magazines, heavy bond paper, and small strips of sheet metal and stuffing them into the business reply envelopes that came with the junk packages.
“You wouldn’t believe how heavy I got some of these envelopes to weigh,” said Mr. Williams, who added that he saw an immediate drop in the amount of arriving junk mail. A spokesman for the United States Postal Service, Gerald McKiernan, said that Mr. Williams’s actions sounded legal, as long as the envelope was properly sealed.
Sometimes, small acts of rebellion offer big doses of relief.
“I’ve come to realize that I’m almost addicted to the sick little pleasure I get from lashing out at these things,” said Mr. Kirk, 24, a freelance writer from Brooklyn who collects and returns magazine inserts.