On Mailing a Brick to McBama

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This is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in ages. This site shows you how to Use “Postage Paid” Envelopes to mail a brick to junk mailers!.

You know those obnoxious “refinance your home” or credit card … offers that you get in the mail? This is called direct marketing, where marketers use a reduced bulk postal rate to send entire forests of paper mail to you.

So this is something you can do in response. … Find a shoebox, or a storage bin, or any cardboard box you have laying around. Fill it up with bricks, big blocks of iron, or maybe cement. Tape the box up with everyday packaging tape. Use a junkmail’s postage-paid envelope and tape it neatly to the top cover of the box. NEATLY. And mail it off. Envelope revenge!

A few days later, your package shows up at the junk mailer’s location, and they have to pay for every cent of delivery. Once the cost outweighs the benefit, they will stop sending out direct mail marketing material. And that is my goal.

This trick has been used to get rid of old textbooks; shoeboxes filled with the week’s newspapers; and an “old broken blender” the owner didn’t know what to do with.

Of course, doing this to an innocent private company–say, a charity, or non-profit, or Sears–is a type of theft and wrong. But what about political campaigns, which are not so innocent? Someone suggested to me that some unscrupulous types might use this trick to waste the Demopublican Parties’ money, when they send you junk mail asking for donations for McBama’s campaign. (The site also has a unique way to fight spam.) (Thanks to Vijay Boyapati)It occurred to me one time that another way to do something similar would be to donate, say, $5 to Obama’s or McCain’s campaign, early on. Over the ensuing months, they’re sure to waste $20 or more for postage and printing, for follow-on mail to you. That’s a pretty good ROI!

Update: Someone sent me this: “This strategy was used to great effect in the UK against the anti-hunting movement by those who believed – and still believe – that it is not the government’s business to ban traditional countryside pursuits.”

And on a related note: “Here are some fun experiments that have been conducted with the US Postal Service:

I Wonder If That One Dollar Bill Inside a Sandwich Baggie Will Go Through The Mail“”

More: “Ed” writes:

For about the past year I have been sending a Ron Paul card or Slim Jim (or other such information) in virtually all prepaid envelopes I receive. I usually send out somewhere between 5 – 10 per week.

I was a Ron Paul delagate to the Texas Republican Convention, so I got on a bunch of their mailing lists. McCain envelopes are my favorites, but mostly I get credit card applications. The only ones I don’t do it to are charities.

I also stamp my envelopes in red with “Abolish the Fed!”

Everybody needs a hobby…

Update: From a reader, FWIW: “This is an urban legend that has been around for decades. According to my brother who works in the post office, such stunts don’t even make it through the first sort. In other words, postal employees recognise what is going on and quietly remove such parcels from the system.”

12:56 am on August 18, 2008