Unwanted postal mail and telephone solicitations can be a hassle. Take a few minutes to take some simple steps to reduce this incoming clutter.
TACTIC: Send your name and address to a mail preference service to get yourself off many postal mailing lists.
This will not get you off all mailing lists, but it will reduce the amount of unsolicited mail you receive. This is a worthwhile result that saves you time and reduces waste paper in the environment.
Don't worry about not getting an offer from some organization you might be interested in because you are not on their mailing list. In "Tap into Resources," I tell you how you can be an active information seeker rather than passive receptacle.
Another thief of your time and attention are unsolicited sales calls. You can also take some simple steps to reduce the number of these calls and the amount of time they take from you.
Don't get too obsessed with getting off all mailing lists or telemarketer call lists--this is nearly impossible. Unwanted postal and email will come through. If it does, just throw it away (recycle paper) without getting perturbed. On the phone, always be prepared to politely and firmly say, "Add me to your DO NOT CALL list" to any telemarketer and then hang up. If you do these steps, you should cut down the flow of unwanted interruptions. Your benefits will include less clutter, less time wasted, and less of your attention scattered.
TACTIC: Sign up with "Do Not Call" registries to be removed from many telemarketers' databases.
TACTIC: Whenever you receive an unsolicited call via telephone, be prepared to interrupt the caller and asked to be placed on their DO NOT CALL list.
Politely inform the caller, "Please do not call me again. I will consider any such calls from you or your organization as unwelcome and abusive." Write down the date and time of the call and who it came from. (In the United States, see the US Code for laws about telemarketing.) You should never hear from the caller again. If you do, you can check with a legal advisor to find out the damage award you might claim against the caller.
Remember that on the phone, you may have no idea to whom you are talking. Don't ever give out your credit card number, social security number, or checking account number to anyone who called you. Don't donate money to any charity soliciting via telephone (the call could very easily be a fraud to steal money). Don't accept any "prizes" via telephone.
Another way your home is targeted for marketing are sales people and handbill distribution.
TACTIC: Place a neatly lettered NO SOLICITING and NO HANDBILLS sign near your front door where a door-to-door salesperson will see it.
Will this drive away all solicitors and handbill distributors? Of course not, but the small amount of energy it takes to place the sign will pay off if one salesperson is turned away. You'll also have a quick way of getting rid of those who do come to your door by pointing to the sign. Every salesperson at your door takes from your time, attention, energy, and exposes you to the risk of money loss or fraud. Reputable salespeople will respect your sign and not bother you.
You are probably generating junk mail simply by being a member of almost any organization.
TACTIC: For all credit cards, member organizations, or even service companies such as banks, phone companies, or energy utilities you use, request to be placed on a DO NOT CALL list for no phone solicitation.
Tell the organization to not share your name, address, and phone number with others, and ask to receive no postal mail from them or any other party except for that necessary to serve your account.
This tactic includes buying club cards at grocery or discount stores. Most organizations are becoming more aware of individual privacy rights and have options in place where you can refuse mail and phone calls and disallow sharing your address. You just have to ask.
TACTIC: Avoid entering contests or drawings where you supply your name and address.
Just make it a policy to never do this--you'll save time, energy, and the hassle of being on another mailing list. Might you lose out on valuable prizes? Sure, but you'll definitely lose out on scams and junk mail.
Electronic mail is a new frontier for direct marketing. Email marketers usually can send out vast amounts of unsolicited electronic mail (called "spam") very easily.
The trick to dealing with unwanted email is to filter out first what you want, then quickly deal with or delete the junk that is left.
TACTIC: If you receive electronic mail, use email reading software or Web-based mail that can filter your incoming mail.
Using the features of the software, set up this procedure:
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