Posted by: Mark Nielsen | December 19, 2008

Going Postal During the Holidays

I’ve been prepping a big pile of Christmas cards with letter inserts this week. I’m conflicted, though. I feel good about going low-tech, and keeping up with folks far afield. Yet I feel bad for postal workers this time of year, and also about the extra paper and packaging that ends up in landfills by January 1st.

I actually dated a girl in my early twenties whose father was a letter-carrier. Since she still lived at home, I got to know her folks a bit. What I remember most about her dad was his immense muscle pain and weariness at this time of year. So while I still believe in ink and paper now and then –in the *permanence* of it compared to digital communication– I do have compassion for those we trust to sort and carry our “go the extra mile”, self-mailed communication.

But as for the duplicate Land’s End catalogs, jeweler’s sales announcements, and other junkmail… that machine-generated crap’s got to *go*. It’s worse than any holiday cards or email spamming could ever be. Maybe they’re keeping the printers and direct-mail industry afloat. But the tradeoff can’t be worth it in the long run. As the world economy goes more green, I wonder if government will set some limits, or if it will just reach critical mass someday, as we are crushed by a jillion glossy postcards and Capital One credit card offers.

Like the Comcast junkmail twice a week, year-round, advertising services I already subscribe to. I wanna blow some marketing executive’s office door down with a shotgun. Then I’d ask for a 40 percent reduction on my cable and internet bill. I ain’t interested in paying for them to increase market penetration by just half a percentage point, all while creating more trash and bother than any responsible corporation should be allowed to create.

So tune in here soon for the digital version of my holiday letter, complete with hyperlinks. And if you got my snailmail version, bear in mind it’s part of a dying tradition. Enjoy it while you can.



  1. Need more details to think about that.

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