Fear of asking to be removed from mailing lists

In the category of not wanting to annoy a cashier by giving them a $20 when the total is less than $10, and avoiding returns even to giant stores like Staples even on unopened items, I have to add fear of calling to have my name removed from mailing lists. I always feel a mix of apologetic and defensive. I'm quick to give an email address (real) instead, and explain that I don't like to waste the paper and I'm just so overwhelmed with papers and a baby (toddler now, but baby sounds better) and my grandmother's paperwork that it ends up getting lost in the pile anyway. It's not that I don't support meals on sustainable wheels for minority wildlife, I do, and will continue to, but I don't need the reminders. I don't think it's an exxagerachel* to say the people on the other end sometimes sound quite irritated -- don't they? has anyone else noticed that or do I just always assume the entire world is irritated?-- but no one I've called for this purpose has ever actually grilled me or demanded I make a persuasive case for why I am choosing to no longer receive their catalog, weighed it over and decided he or she could not support it. Does anyone have any to add? By the way I haven't even scraped the surface of my real irrational fears. Okay I'm off to make a bunch of Do-not-call calls now. Gotta psych myself up!

*coined by Alex, can't imagine what inspired it


  1. A major paradigm shift occurred this year when I realized that in 2010 a $50 dollar bill was considered in the "normal" group--no longer in the is-this-woman-a-counterfeiter category. I was apologizing to the young gas attendant at one of the few local full-service stations that all I had was the $50 (emergency money 'cause usually I pay by credit card, but the cash price was $.10/gal cheaper)...and he looked at me in amazement, saying in effect, 'lady, what planet are you from, we take lots of $50s.'

    Very different than in the late 60s when $20 bought minimum 3 full bags of groceries. So, amazingly enough things change. LOL

    I still feel guilty using a credit card for amounts like $4.26, but I work through it. Doubt that anyone cares anymore. A residual "rule" that's lost it's raison d'etra.

    About the "junk" mail. It is totally annoying to get paper that one doesn't want. Rachel, you didn't mention my main beef--someone has to "deal" with it, even if all that means is throwing it away. We have enough to do trying to take care of our space without the outside world contributing unwanted stuff.

    Good for you for making time to make those calls. I usually deal with it organization by organization--some have websites and one can opt-out (which can take months to go into effect). Others, when they make their telephone solicitation (another bone of contention) I'll tell them I'd like to switch to email and forget the paper. Sometimes the request sticks and other times it doesn't. I don't know that I'd say the people on the other end ever sounded irritated though. Most were quite understanding (they do want our support LOL). In the end all I really want is for the junk mail to stop.

  2. i also share the $20 bill phobia (esp with the fruit and veg stands when in buy two dollars in potatoes so i can cook my one and only dish, rosemary roasted potatoes), along with my own "cab going in the wrong way" phobia; however, according to Hein, i paradoxically have no problem just ripping into every telephone call center person i interact with. "what do you mean you can't forgive my late payment from 2006?" I am working on it however.

  3. So bizarre. I never even thought of the big bill phobia. My irritation with big bills is that I have to deal with the change! I do have the phobia of spending too much time looking for the exact change in my dis-organized wallet/pocket so that I end up paying with a whole extra dollar (which then leads to more change, of course)

    Like Jim, I have no problem ripping into tele-marketers or even, at this point, fundraisers. Who do they think they are to interrupt my day/evening with a five minute speech before I can get a word in edge-wise? Makes me livid. I've finally just started saying "I'm aware of your organization X and will donate (again) if I feel like it in the future. Please take me off your call list."
    And I completely agree with Linda - the irritation of having to deal with something that you didn't ask for in the first place really irritates me.

  4. The analysts reading this blog -- and I know you are out there -- is there a specific term for ludicrously little things that make us anxious or "feel bad" (like me not wanting to walk by coffee vendor I used to buy from because I now make my own coffee)?
    The $50 one makes me laugh -- I tend to assume they'll only have to give away two 20-dollar-bills, which they didn't want anyway, so it's no more irritating for them. Funny how we all have our own little web of "it's okay because..." or "it's not okay because." Just remembered Grandma Miriam screaming at me to ask Chelsea Cottage (when we called for delivery) if they had "change-a-twenty" (change of twenty I think she was saying). I was like of course they do (totally rational, sober, cut to panic over flagging down wrong-way cab 2 hours later). It became a major fight. I think I did ultimately call back just as the guy was ringing the buzzer. Can't stop laughing over "what planet are you from?" in Linda's. Credit card for small amounts -- that's a good one! Are you allowed? Some places still have that menacing sign up about minimums. Eli - the tele-marketers -- aren't they just doing a low-level and unsatisfying job (or volunteer work)? That's my feeling on those. So the irritation is there, but there's no place to put it (except on director of the organization, but there's always that "for a good cause" rationale looming in the background). Eli - phobia of spending too much time looking for change!!!!! Awesome. I think we should make an official list. I bet I could get us a book deal out of it. So much more fun than glossophobia, arachnophobia, acrophobia and all the ones that have been beaten to death. We can even give ours names. And yes I agree with the above -- having to deal with something at all that you did not ask for is infuriating. Gonna try the web too to get off lists (avoid confrontation that way) - thanks for the tip.

  5. Hmm, when I ask to be taken off of mailing lists, I like to make it a point to say that unsolicited catalogs are bad for the environment. They probably think I'm crazy but some of the more socially conscious companies can at least hear that feedback and maybe think twice about mailed catalogs. I mean, really, if I want to look up a product, it's called INTERNETz.

  6. I recently worked through my fear of changing my shorts in public by doing it in the West Side Highway during a recent jog run.

    "The only thing you have to fear is change."
    by the GOP.

  7. omg!

    Just remembered what my dad used to do. He wrote "deceased" across the "to" address and put it back in the mailbox as rejected mail.

    He said it worked like a charm. Bet it would work for the telephone solicitors, too.

  8. That's fantastic. And considering 90% of the charity mail is addressed to someone deceased (my grandmother), it's not even dishonest. Thanks! I should also point everyone to J Sweet's blog, which is what originally gave me the idea. http://www.thanksfornotyelling.com/?p=316
    She points readers to http://www.catalogchoice.org/ to "reduce unwanted mail"

  9. But I mean everyone should use it -- Linda's dad's trick. Unless you suffer from neurotic magical thinking intrusive thoughts and think it will somehow kill you to write that next to your name. Any takers?


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