For some shoppers, mail-order catalogues are a treat. For others, they are an irritation.
Lately, even the city of Los Angeles has taken a stand against them. In a news conference last month, Mayor Tom Bradley urged residents to remove their names from national direct-mail lists to help reduce the amount of paper clogging local landfills. (The Environmental Protection Agency reports that direct mail accounts for 2.4% of the nation's municipal solid waste.)
"Even those who shop by mail can reduce the amount of mail they receive by asking businesses not to share their names with other companies," said Bradley.
You can have your name removed from direct-mail lists by writing to the Direct Marketing Assn. Mail Preference service. The company deletes names, free of charge, from most national lists.
To take advantage of the service, send your name to Mail Preference Service, c/o the Direct Marketing Assn., 11 West 42nd. St., P.O. Box 3861, New York, N.Y. 10163-3861. New requests are processed four times a year, so it may take several months before you see results. To ensure accuracy, the company accepts only written requests. Do not call.
If you want to continue receiving certain favorite catalogues, this service is not for you. It's an all-or-nothing offer.
Many mail-order companies sell their customer list to others. To keep that from happening to you, look for information within the catalogues you receive. In the Talbots catalogue, for example, a paragraph printed on the inside flap of the order form explains that the company makes customer names available to "firms offering merchandise that may be of interest."
It instructs people who prefer not to be part of that program to send in a copy of their catalogue label to Talbots, with a note requesting that their name not be sold.
To cancel one particular catalogue you now receive, send a postcard instructing that company to take you off its mailing list. Even that much will help cut down on the clutter, at home and in the local landfill.