Paper-Free But Not So Easy

Take the long and winding road to being paper-free

On Friday morning my lovely postie dropped a handful of letters onto the mat and I instantly spotted one from BT. ‘That’s odd’, I thought, ‘we’ve been paper-free with them for ages’.

What was this?

Must be something urgent.

It was 10.30am, time for a fag break – I don’t smoke, but see no reason why I shouldn’t officially ‘down tools’ for 10 minutes, twice a day – and I flicked the kettle on for a brew then ploughed through the post, before heading off to a meeting.

There was a lovely note from a dear friend sending me all her salacious gossip, an invitation to a clothes swap party, the fixture list and membership details for one of the children’s sports clubs and the letter from BT which I saved until last.

Inside their envelope was a glossy, A3 sized letter and application form trying to ‘sell’ me their credit card, along with a sheet of paper with thousands of incredibly tiny words, marked up ‘Summary Box’ which is surely a contradiction in terms, another small sheet with even smaller writing on it that an Oompa-Loompa would have squinted with, headed, ‘Important Information’, a pre-paid envelope to send all the forms back to their office in, oh, and a glossy leaflet assuring me that I would have ‘Peace of Mind’ by knowing how ‘state of the art’ their systems were…clearly, their state of the art systems don’t take into account that paper-free customers really do mean they want to be ‘paper-free’.

There’s nothing quite as irritating as junk mail – well, apart from slashing through a brand new pair of tights with a ripped fingernail you never knew you had 3 minutes before you’re due to head out the door, but hey, I’m sure you get my drift – so I was appropriately fired up and ready for battle.

Unfortunately, you have to make a special request to your utility and service providers and ask that you be removed from their junk mail list, sorry, important sales messages from them or their specially chosen partners, so I duly rang the number on their documentation and asked to speak to a manager.

I wanted to know why I’d been sent this letter in the first place when my account was clearly marked paper-free and I resisted the burning urge to question why, when our nation was clearly in the deathly-grip of a credit crunch, they were trying to seduce me into spending money I potentially didn’t have. But the best of it all was, if I loaded myself up with debt on this credit card, they would actually take money off of the bill for my phone calls; now just how tempting is that?

The on-duty manager informed me that I’d been sent a letter about ‘Saving money on my telephone bill’ (she wouldn’t even acknowledge that they were pitching to sign me up to a credit card that would suck me in for a fat percentage of interest given half a chance…) I was silenced for words at the audacity (which doesn’t happen often), then simply asked for my name to come off of their list for sales mailers.

She informed me that they couldn’t do that, I’d have to call another number as they only deal with credit card applications…ho hum, a state of the art system eh?

Anyway, one more quick call and the job was a good ‘un, but oh, the irksomeness was almost immeasurable!

The moral of this story is, if you don’t want to add to your piles of junk mail and paper rubbish, take a moment to contact all your providers individually by telephone, letter or email and instruct them to remove you from their mail-out lists; it’s one way to ensure they don’t spoil a perfectly good fag break.

Rubbishly yours,