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There's Junk Mail and There's Junk Mail and Then There's -

     I only opened it because I wondered why it should be returned to customer service after five days. The postage was the usual pre-sort rate that all junk mail carries, so when it arrived I threw it onto the stack of newspapers and magazines and Pennysavers and credit card offers ripped in two that I would later stuff into the recycle bags.

     We get so much junk mail I just throw everything on the stack unless it has first class postage or looks like a credit offer. I always cut up the credit offers and I usually plow through the piles of catalogues in case there’s an actual real magazine buried in there, but most of our mail goes straight from the mailbox to the recycle stack without ever being opened.

     When I heard about the Opt Out number for stopping credit offers in the mail for the umpteenth time last Tuesday, I finally got smart and called it. I thought I’d just call, give them my name and address and be done.

     Wrong. After giving the automatedly friendly voice my address, phone number, name, social security number and no – not my dress size! - and I don’t remember what all else, the voice stopped asking questions and I was done.

     Wrong. “You are now opted out for five years. If you want to Opt Out permanently, you’ll have to fill out a Lifetime Opt Out form, which we’ll mail to you if you request it.” I requested it and I was done.

     Wrong. “Is there anyone else in the household who would like to Opt Out?”  

     Oh darn. We have to go through all this again? Yep! For the guy who shares my address and credit rating.  I wasn’t ready to go through the drill again and the guy was waiting for me at the door so I said no.

     Sometimes mail is a good thing. Sometimes you get really neat things in the mail. Sometimes, buried in the pile of advertisements, flyers and credit offers, you find a letter from a friend or a check from a publisher or a Lifetime Opt Out form.

     For about a month my son Paul and I have been watching the mail real close.  Paul’s favoritest in the world singer, Gwen Stefani, is coming to town for a concert in April and I ordered tickets for him and his brother about a month ago so every day he asks, “Did the tickets come yet?” and every day I say, “No, not yet.”  

     After several weeks, I went online to make sure I’d ordered them. I checked my credit card transactions. No charge for Gwen Stefani tickets.

     I called TicketMaster the next day. Turns out I’d ordered the tickets all right, but I’d charged them to my business VISA instead of our family VISA. Both the automated service rep and later, the biological service rep, told me the tickets were mailed a week ago and should be here any day. But they weren’t.

     Had someone taken them out of our mailbox? The biological service rep told me to call back if they didn’t arrive by the weekend.

     After the call, I wandered into the TV room and promptly tripped over a stack of junk mail and newspapers on the floor, waiting to be moved to the recycle bags. As I put them back in a stack, a little white envelope with red letters in the corner caught my eye. The envelope had the usual presort postage rate, but the red letters said, “After five days, return to customer service.”

     I got kind’a curious. Why should I return junk mail to customer service? I picked up the envelope, started to toss it back on the stack, but then what th’ heck? I slit it open and pulled out…

     “Paul! I found the tickets!”

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