After our extended swing to the East Coast and back, Sarah and I are back in Madison. Whenever we leave town for an extended period of time, we always stop our mail to keep it from piling up outside the house. Since we were gone for twelve days, we got quite a delivery of mail from our friendly neighborhood postal worker today.

The amazing thing about the mail is how little mail you seem to get if you just get one or two pieces of mail each day. If one or both of those pieces are junk mail, the perception that you don’t get any mail quickly implants itself in your psyche. When I started sorting through twelve days of mail, it quickly became obvious to me just how much utter crap is sent through the mail. For instance, the breakdown of mail sent just to me is as follows:

  • 3 magazines
  • 2 newsletters
  • 4 bills
  • 1 2004 tax form (?!?!?!)
  • 1 check
  • 3 pleas for money from non-profits
  • 1 offer for a credit card imprinted with the logo of a non-profit organization
  • 2 flyers for an election we missed
  • 1 unsolicited hospital newsletter
  • 8 offers to monkey with my telephone or high-speed data services
  • 1 magazine subscription offer
  • 1 book club offer
  • 8 credit card offers
  • 1 review copy of a technical book
  • 2 catalogs from mail-order companies

Sarah’s pile is at least as tall as mine and seems to contain many of the same envelopes, suggesting that perhaps she got many of the same entreaties to acquire new plastic and donate funds to non-profits far and wide.

It’s hard to believe that the Postal Service is hurting when you take the time to look at the sheer volume of paper shoveled into our mailbox each and every day.