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Thread: The 2006 APA Junk Mail Project

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    The 2006 APA Junk Mail Project

    One complaint frequently expressed here about the American Planning Association is the massive amount of junk mail they send out.

    I want to see if the accusatons are indeed true. From 1 January to 31 December 2006, I'll be saving all APA-related junk mail that's sent to my house. This includes everything but Planning magazine, chapter and division newsletters, and invoices. I'll also collect planning-related but non-APA junk mail. At the end of the year, I'll tally all the APA mail, AICP mail, and junk mail from those who rent the APA mailing list.

    Do we really get 20 Planners Bookstore catalogs a year, or is it just our perception? Stay tuned to this thread in 2006, and find out!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    Do we really get 20 Planners Bookstore catalogs a year, or is it just our perception?
    No, we really get 20 catalogs, plus another 15 envelopes with 'new' material, plus a couple flyers.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    I have actually noticed an INCREASE in the amount of junk mail I am receiving. I have received five mailings in just the past two months! I don't know which is worse the junk mail or my invoices stating they want even more money out of me for next year. Glad to see someone is going to keep track of mailings so I can know if the APA is actually an environmentally friendly organization.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    All that stuff is wasteful in terms of cost as well. Why don't they just put their bookstore on the website? All of those PAS and Zoning reports that are for sale and that are advertised is really a waste.

    I bet we could reduce the overall operating costs by $20 a MEMBER if they would just stop mailing so much useless crap. My work does not pay my APA or AICP dues, they really need to be more accountable to us as their membership.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    In 2006 I am going to save all the credit card offers, total up the maximum credit limit they are offering to me, and then write them a letter asking them to take me off their mailing lists or I will sue them for that amount based on harassment.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    In 2006 I am going to save all the credit card offers, total up the maximum credit limit they are offering to me, and then write them a letter asking them to take me off their mailing lists or I will sue them for that amount based on harassment.
    Now that is the best one yet! I am still laughing. Let me know if I can get in on that settlement.

    I agree with you DetroitPlanner as well. My jobs do not pay for my APA dues either but they just keep on raising the prices. I would like to know what they all do at the national office all year anyway.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    I agree with DetroitPlanner and jringel.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  8. #8
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    I always open the credit card offers, take out the return envelope, and mail it back to them empty...

    ...or with some special prize. Like another offer I got that day, snot, pocket lint, or other fun item.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    C'mon and get me you twist of fate
    I'm standing right here Mr. Destiny
    If you want to talk well then I'll relate
    If you don't so what cause you don't scare me

  9. #9
    Cyburbian geobandito's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    This includes everything but Planning magazine, chapter and division newsletters, and invoices.
    I think you should include any invoices beyond the first one. I usually get many more than one, starting somewhere around 4 or 5 months before it's actually due.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by geobandito
    I think you should include any invoices beyond the first one. I usually get many more than one, starting somewhere around 4 or 5 months before it's actually due.
    Thats right!! This is annoying as hell as well. What are we, Children!? I already have this $300 expense factored into my yearly budget to pay it when it is due. All the invoices just cloud my ability to pay and I end up with a stack of several invoices sent prior to my due date!

  11. #11
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff
    I always open the credit card offers, take out the return envelope, and mail it back to them empty...

    ...or with some special prize. Like another offer I got that day, snot, pocket lint, or other fun item.
    Now that is a good idea!

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    I not sure if this qualifies;
    but just how did how did the City of Naperville, Ill get my address to sent me their "Position Preview for: Director of Planning" ?
    or why did they sent it to me - because of having AICP after my name ?
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    This thread gives me WAY TOO MANY good ideas. I'm sure there's a published guide to having fun with junk mail. I will diligently (perhaps even obsessively) follow Dan and Michaelskis' lead on this. I will develop a spreadsheet detailing my monthly junk mail activity and share with anyone who cares. Perhaps I can turn this into marketable data for advertising agencies or something. We'll see what the recycling center says when I drop it off in January of 07.

    USPS is a whore.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  14. #14
    Cyburbian GeoTech's avatar
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    Fantastic. I'm in. Hopefully at the end of the year I will learn a thing or two about mass marketing. The banks are the worst. I have a real problem with their tactics. Just received a large envelope the other day with "sensitive information". Yeah whatever....

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    Junk Mail shouldn't be a problem when you have a chimney. And if you don't off to the recycling center...it's like getting your money back from them....

    I remember that when I was in the US my parents always complained about junk mail... so I see that even though this could have "stopped" (meaning as going from your mailbox to your e-mailbox) with the massification of Internet, it hasn't. At least here in Chile we don't have that problem of junk mail (the cyber one is just as inevitable and annoying as anywhere in the world..)


    I did something similar but with e-mail spam... I abandoned an e-mail account that I had that constantly recieved spam. In less than a month it had like 500 junk e-mails... right now it's full of spam so any new are just bouncing... mwahahah it's a small payback... they get spammed with their bounced e-mails

  16. #16
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    I would hope that an "office pool" might get started where we could guess the weight of the year's junk mail for prizes. Please Dan!

  17. #17
    Cyburbian GeoTech's avatar
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    2006 Junk Mail Report

    As a follow up to a thread started at the beginning of 2006, I would like to submit the following results of my junk mail collection for 2006. It has been sitting in a box for over three months now, what can I say, I’ve procrastinated. The total collection numbered 190 pieces. This figure seemed surprisingly low to me. It may be because my wife got to the mail box before me a few times so give it a +- 10% on these numbers.

    APA related junk mailings were at 18. This included any mailings from companies that bought our information including West Coast Publishing and the Urban Land Institute. I did not count my Planning magazine or any local chapter mailings I received.

    I had been actively trying to reduce the number of junk mailings from financial institutions, but my phone calls seemed to have little impact in 2006. By far the financial sector weighed in heavily at 73 pieces. American Express took the cake at 19 mailings. Fancy Ones Too! Followed by Capital One,15 and Chase Bank at 12. Insurance companies showed at 12.

    I will continue to try and reduce the junk by phoning the companies on my off nights, Ha Ha.

  18. #18
    I haven't been a member for years but still get mail from them. Goes strait into file 86.
    Je suis Charlie

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker View post
    I haven't been a member for years but still get mail from them. Goes strait into file 86.
    Same here. I quit APA/AICP 4 years ago but I still get flyers, bookstore catalogs, etc.

  20. #20
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    I was just thinking about this thread yesterday! I'll take a photo of what I collected over the past year, and post it here. It really isn't as bad as you would think.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by GeoTech View post
    I had been actively trying to reduce the number of junk mailings from financial institutions, but my phone calls seemed to have little impact in 2006. By far the financial sector weighed in heavily at 73 pieces. American Express took the cake at 19 mailings. Fancy Ones Too! Followed by Capital One,15 and Chase Bank at 12. Insurance companies showed at 12.
    Starting my own business has just added to the junk mail, phone service/sales flyers, credit card offers, unsolicited office furniture catalogs, obscure conference announcements, etc., etc. that I receive every day. In some cases I get credit card offers addressed to me under 3 different versions of my name plus the business itself!

    The routine of sorting the stuff to be shredded from the stuff to be recycled and then disposing of whatever is left takes up more time than I'd like to admit... only because I am too conscientious (or stupid) to dump it all.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Dan thats because they became too annoying with e-mails instead! I did get a huge catalog from them the other day though. I think someone is stealing my planner mags before I get home (must be for the centerfolds).
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    I tear off anything with address box, tracting code #, or other forms of ID so I can shred them, the rest is recycled.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  24. #24
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    I almost forgot about this thread! Here's the results: all the APA junk mail from 2006. Everything except national conference programs. Not as much as I expected, actually.


    http://www.cyburbia.org/gallery/show...hp?photo=20808

    Off to the paper recycling bag!

    (Home from work today: emergency)

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