It’s an old habit that is hard to shake; each morning I wonder, what’s in the mail today?
Thanks to the USPS’s Informed Delivery service, one need not wonder. Informed Delivery sends an email with images of most letter-sized pieces that will be arriving that day. But even without the preview, contents of the daily mail are fairly predictable. Count on some form of advertising, whether printed on newspaper stock, post cards, or flyers. Solicitations from charitable organizations proliferate. Soon, prior to November elections, we will be deluged with political flyers in the mail. All of the above are forms of junk mail.
One recent day, we received an abundance of mail, all of which was packaged in such a way as to draw interest. One large envelope, from a national non-profit supporting animal rescue, included a calendar, return address labels, and a personal planner. Much as I love animals, I have never contributed to this organization, nor do I plan to. Straight into the recycling bin.
Unsolicited “free” gifts in the mail are a pet peeve of mine. When one supports a charitable non-profit organization, it is not difficult to request that they limit the number of solicitations or forego sending any unwanted materials. What seems to be more difficult is preventing solicitations from other organizations that have profiled you for previous philanthropic giving.
That same day, I also received a solicitation from a different global animal rescue organization, with more free gifts. It, too, is not an organization that I have supported. Note cards featuring cute baby animals, an authentic check made out to me in the amount of $2.50, and (gasp!) a pair of adorable socks, in my favorite color, decorated with little paw prints. The pitch letter suggested that I return the check to them, along with a donation. Sorry, but it will go in the shredder. (But how can I not keep the socks?)
What does one do with unwanted items that come in the mail? If they were of use, I would donate them, but for the most part, they go in the trash or recycling. Dreamcatchers made in China? No, thanks. Nickels in the mail? I cannot support a charity that wastes money that way.
What else was in the mail that day? I now can recognize a realtor’s pitch letter, wanting to sell our house. Even this one, that was hand addressed (not printed to appear hand-addressed), with a real stamp and stick-on return address label. Still, while knowing it was a realtor’s ploy, I opened it. In addition to the letter, there was a sheet listing recent home sales in my neighborhood, including addresses, square footage, and asking and sales prices. Now, that was kind of interesting, despite having no intention of moving.
All of this, of course, lends satisfaction when something real and special lands in the mailbox, and this day of mail included some good things. Four tickets to the opening reception of Friends of the Library’s Annual Big Book Sale! Attending the big book sale has long been one of my favorite activities of the year, dating back to when it was a shared activity with my younger daughter, over 30 years ago. Advertised as the largest book sale west of the Mississippi, the sale is located on a pier on the San Francisco Bay, with a warehouse filled with tens of thousands of donated books. It is a stunning location, and a great opportunity to sip and nosh, and to chat with friends, old and new. Oh, and there are books to buy and read, too!
An artful post card announcing a fine press printing festival was also in the day’s mail. The 16th Annual Roadworks Steamroller Printing Festival will feature printing and bookbinding demos, 40 arts and crafts vendors, activities for adults and children, and a beer garden and food vendors. The festival, which is free, also will feature a 7-ton 1924 Buffalo Springfield coal-powered steamroller. Bay Area friends and visitors, check out San Francisco Center for the Book for more information.
And best yet, all in a day’s mail, there were two handwritten notes. Each was an expression of thanks for a baby gift, one from my niece in Virginia, the other from a great niece in Las Vegas. Buying things for babies is so much fun, perhaps I should be thanking them for giving me the opportunity. And how gratifying it is to know that the art of the thank you note is alive and well.
What’s in the mail today? Wishing you a full and intriguing mailbox.