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Well, all of my diligent phone calls in January hardly made a dent in the tidal wave of catalogs that are delivered to our house. We received 32 this month (down from 38 last month), weighing in at 8 pounds of catalogs. Ironically, several of the catalogs have gleaned enough about us to know we care about the environmental impacts of products, so they tout their green products and shipping methods and the high recycled content of the paper in their catalogs.

So far in 2012, we’ve gotten catalogs from 45 different companies, only 14 of whom we’ve ever bought anything from (and again, I don’t purchase from catalogs–I shop on-line and in stores).

I’ve been keeping a diligent record of which companies’ agents were rude and how long I waited on hold at each company, so I’ll post that soon.

My breakthrough discovery this morning was of a fabulous nonprofit called Catalog Choice that helps you to submit requests to stop catalog mailings. Of the 45 companies I got catalogs from, 38 of them are registered with Catalog Choice, so the requests only took a few clicks once I’d set up my profile. I’ll keep you posted as to whether catalog choice has a better success rate than I do, but it looks promising.

We returned from a long weekend trip over New Year’s to find a huge pile of catalogs in our mail. Since I never actually use a paper catalog when I order things, this seemed like a massive importation of stuff to be immediately recycled. (I do order a lot of things, so it makes sense that I’m on a bunch of mailing lists, but you’d think companies would track my cookies and see that I use their websites to build my orders.) There were catalogs from many companies that I’ve ordered from multiple times, and some from companies I’d never heard of before.

I spent the month of January calling each one to remove myself from their mailing lists. I got mostly friendly, helpful responses from agents, but a few doozies of bad customer service too. (I’ll probably do a separate post about the companies’ service after I have time to see how effective all of my requests were.) But the raw statistics are that…

…for the month of January, we received 38 total catalogs from 28 different companies (17 of whom we’ve never patronized). At an average weight of 4 ounces per catalog (thank you, digital kitchen scale), that’s 8.75 pounds of catalogs, or more than our daughter weighed when she was born.

Via Flickr:
My dad mailed me a toy for C.J. that required hand canceling, which costs more than the postage he’d affixed. (Though, there is a postage label marked 87 cents as well. It’s actually pretty unclear what happened here, and my dad is not big on return addresses.) Anyways, the envelope arrived stamped "postage due: 87 cents." I left the empty envelope in the mailbox the next day with a dollar bill clipped to it. And then, two days later, I got change and a receipt.

Unfortunately, my campaign to raise the asking price for thezimbabwes.org has been a failure. The price has dropped!

Here’s the latest:

Dear jess,

I am contacting you today about the availability of thezimbabwes.com.

I wanted to let you know that the price of www.thezimbabwes.com was reduced to $97.00.

Because you own a similar site, this domain may be of use to you.  Most people assume a website is a .com more than any other extension.  We want to help you capture more visitors to your present site!

A great feature that we offer is free domain forwarding.  This is a great idea!  You can forward your new .com domain to your existing site.  This way when people find your .com it will automatically forward them to your existing site.  This process takes about 2 minutes to complete.  You won’t have to set up a new webpage, change your metatags, keywords, or other search engine changes.

screenshot: zimbabwes.com is for sale

screenshot: zimbabwes.com is for sale

Hilarious! I got an email that stated:

“Dear jess,

Domain Sale Notice:

Good news! The domain thezimbabwes.com is now available for purchase. Since you own the domain thezimbabwes.org, we thought you’d be interested in this domain, we are giving you the first chance to acquire it.

We look forward to hearing back from you.”

And then I clicked through to their page, and saw that they are selling it for $397! Hahaha. Since thezimbabwes.com disappeared as an available option the very week that Sam & I were planning our elopement and searching for an available domain, I’m pretty sure that someone bought it just because they thought they could mark it up and sell it back to us. (No one has used the domain since.)

It cracks me up that they think we want to be dot-com that badly. We can totally implement world domination as a dot-org anyways.

Everyone should visit the site soon and see if we can drive them to raise the ridiculous price even further: https://secure.itdomainnames.net/store/order/thezimbabwes.com