Please don't send me mail

Art ("Homage to Henri")
and essay by Mo Conlan

The young daughter of a friend was visiting the other day when my mail slot rattled.

“Your mail’s here,” she said, excitedly.

“They all want money,” I said with less enthusiasm.

I didn’t express my stronger reaction to the thud of tree products hitting my mail chute.


Don’t send that mail!

Please, charities that I give money to in December, don’t waste trees and precious dollars promptly asking me again. This is rude. I have given you a cookie. Thank me for it first and don’t ask for another right away.

This hounding behavior makes me feel uncharitable. And it makes me consider not giving any money to charities and causes asking too often.

I am retired. I am not a wealthy woman. I have deep angst that I cannot save every sparrow. I try to do good, to be generous. Don’t milk me for my compassion.

Don’t send me pitch mail more than once a year.

Don’t sell my name to other charities so that I receive yet more mail asking me for money. If you are doing that, you’ve seen my last dollar. But, I suspect you all do.

Another thing: Don’t send me mail asking if I want to re-subscribe to magazines and newspapers months before they are slated to expire. Send me only one piece of mail – preferably a postcard – about three months in advance of expiration dates.

OK. One more. Elderhostel runs a fine world travel service – Road Scholar: Adventures in Lifelong Learning. I have been on two of their trips.

Since I am on their list, I receive thick, oversize magazine-style promotions of upcoming trips in the mail. These are interspersed with yet more mail -- slightly smaller sized magazines also touting their trips. Way too many trees are giving their all for this deluge. I can go to a web site and find out -- without killing trees – if and when I want to take another Road Scholar trip.

A lot of ad circulars come in my mail. I glance at a few and pitch others directly into the recycling.

Among the batch of mail that came the other day was a piece of “real” mail, an invitation to a party from a real person, a person I know. That was nice.

As I re-read the invitation, I realized that the party also is a fund-raiser for a new charity. I think this is the only piece of mail I am going to receive from this new do-good effort; it seems worthy and I am going to donate some money.

I have recently begun seeing charity and generosity differently. When I can, I over-tip those who work in service industries – those who, often, work so hard for so little. Our society needs to shave off the top, and the middle, for them.

As my volume of mail climbs, more and more I am considering making this my charity of choice. My only charity, my only cause. No mail.

After No Mail, visit Mo's gallery of art.

After Don't Send Mail, return to Cafe home page.