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Archive for the 'Advice' Category

Why Retailers Ask For Your Zip Code

Interesting post at the New York Times about Why Retailers ask for your zip code. I would agree it is for Junk Mail. I have been in many stores and declined to give my zip code to the merchant. Asking them why they needed it they usually say for marketing purposes. What do you do when asked for your postal code? Do you think it is ethical for stores to ask you for it?

USPS to end Saturday letter delivery

The plan to end Saturday mail delivery. In the press release it says letter delivery will stop in August 2013. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said package delivery, which has seen growth in recent years as online purchasing booms, will continue on Saturdays when the plan is implemented in August. This will save the USPS $2 billion annually. Wow that’s a few dollars.

Postal Junk Mail Address Label Codes DeMystified


Recently I have been getting inquiries about what the codes and colored boxes mean on postal Junk mail address labels.

It’s an very difficult question to answer because I am afraid most all catalogs have different meanings and different numbers. The reason is that catalog companies use their internal tracking customer numbers, catalog numbers, reference numbers, source codes, etc… to track where they got your information from or which catalog you are ordering from.

Sometimes catalogs will send a one off mailing and there will only be one code on the catalog. Some will have all sorts of numbers because you are a current customer. These codes will tell them 2 things; where they got your name from and how to track the order when you purchase from the mailing.

Here are some of the address label codes from catalogs demystified in relationship to opting out of junk mail:

USPS Postal bulk mailing codes which are not relevant:

1. In General the first line of the Address label looks like:
*******************ECRLOT 0123D**C-018
are not relevant.

2. Numbers to the left or right of your name that look like
Are also not relevant they are USPS Postal mailing codes and permit numbers that the Post Office uses on bulk mailings.

Relevant Direct Mail Codes:

1. Colored boxes
These are generally marked clearly as customer Number and catalog/source/keycode. When using to remove your name from mailing lists, use these numbers in the corresponding entry areas provided or write “Catalog Code LL2369110″ to be clear.

2. Non Labeled Codes and Numbers
Sometimes you will also find a number in the first line above your name, this is generally the Customer Number. They may even appear with a C as the first letter.

3. How do you confirm that you have the right codes?
Most catalogs have an order form inside the cover or a lift out flyer in the middle of the catalog. In here your name and address will be printed and above it there will be the same numbers as there are on the address label. This will confirm which numbers are relevant.

Our website provides entry boxes for members to enter as much of the relevant codes information as possible, but they are only guidelines. If you see a code that says Ref#, then write Ref# in the box provided. If you have a string of numbers without a label then just write them all out as they appear in the boxes provided.

All of these numbers are meaningful to the direct mail company and will help them determine where your name came from, if it was rented, bought, shared or on their own mailing list. Supplying this information when you are removing your name from mailing lists will make sure you are removed quickly and efficiently.


The importance of Customer Numbers when opting out of catalogs


The importance of entering your customer or account number when opting out of catalogs is very important as detailed below in email responses we have received at’s customer service department recently for opt outs from Patagonia.

The address label on your catalog contains precise information so the catalog company can locate your personal information in their database. If you do not have your exact name and include the customer number then you will probably not be removed from their mailing list.

Our advice is to make sure that you give the catalog companies as much information as you can so they may find you in their database and successfully make your catalog choice.

> Hello,
> Is there a customer number on the back of the catalog in a blue box? I
> cannot locate the name or address in our database. If there is no
> customer number or it is all zeroes it was a one-time mailing from us.
> Have a good day!
> Skye
> Patagonia Customer Service

Another Reply-

> Hi,
> Thank you for your email. Unfortunately we were unable to find you in
> our system and if you have a customer number we can then remove you from
> our list. If you do not have a customer number and it’s all zeros, it
> was a one time mailing from us. You can also go to
> to have your name
> and address removed from other mailings.
> Thank you and have a good day!
> Patagonia Customer Service

And Another Reply—-

> Thank you for your email.
> Is there a customer number on the back of the catalog? If so, we need
> that number to remove you from our mailing list. If not, or the number
> is all zeros, it was a one time mailing from us.
> All the best!
> Patagonia Customer Service


Stop Holiday Junk Mail Catalogs Now!

Well it’s that time of year again, although I have read some recent blogs and articles about how the direct mail industry has been hit by the recession I don’t believe that this year will be much different. I would think they will be trying any method in order to get sales.

So, it is the time to get to work to block those Holiday catalogs coming to your mail box. You already have the “Back to School” Catalogs I am sure and the Fall issues trying to sell you Halloween and thanksgiving items.

Why now? Well most of these companies are already setting up printing for their holiday issues and photo shoots are completed. Catalog companies don’t do their own mailing, they leave it to bulk mailers who will ship on booked delivery date. Catalogs are delivered to bulk mailers well in advance of these dates.

Start making inroads now before it’s too late.


How to Stop Junk Mail


There are lot more very useful Junk Mail services out there to help you stop the catalogs coming to your personal home mailbox. A service such as, 41pounds or greendimes will work for you if you are persistent and stop every catalog that comes to your USPS mail box.

Stopping catalogs isn’t something that happens over night, most direct mail companies will send their catalogs to a bulk mailer up to 3 months in advance of a delivery date. Even if you contact a catalog direct mailer and ask to be removed from their mailing list they will automatically tell you that you may receive 3-4 additional catalogs.

or as Neiman Marcus says”
> We will make every effort to comply with your
> request. Please be advised that the names are
> selected for the mailing list in advance. You may
> receive four to six additional catalogs before
> the removal is complete.”

The second part of the puzzle is to look at the address label carefully each time you stop the catalogs. Your name may appear on the catalog mailing list 3 or 4 times and each time it is spelled differently or has a unique account number. Each of these need to be removed from the list.

A third possibility is that your name was on a rented list. In this case your name will only be added to their private catalog mail preference list if you actually order merchandise.


The Company Store Reduced Mail Plan

Here is a new concept from The Company Store. The company Store is now offering an option for consumers to Opt-In to a “Reduced Mail Plan” in which you would only receive 4 catalogs throughout the year.

I would advise any of our members to call and sign up for this if they like to still receive The Company Store catalogs.

I would think that this is partially based upon the pressures that the recession is having on the direct mail business. But kudos to The company Store for recognizing that consumers do like to be offered choices.

Link to Opt Out of ValPak Flyers


How to opt out of fliers from Valpak is not that difficult but you do need to allow 4-6 weeks before the process is complete.

Enter your full address exactly as you see it on the address label when you click here.


Link to Opt Out of Advo Flyers


What happened to ADVO? Well they got taken over by Valassis last year.

You can still go to to opt out of ADVO flyers. It will take 5-6 weeks to become effective.

You can also call Valassis’ Consumer Assistance line toll free at 888-241-6760 (8:30am-5:00pm EST) or print this form and mail it in.


Junk Mail: What you should know about Valpak


Valpak is mailed to 45 million households in North America each month, yes, each month, you didn’t read this incorrectly.

Due to the extensive lead times needed to produce and mail Valpak, you can receive additional mailings for over two or three months until your address is removed from their mailing list.

Valpak mailings are addressed to “Resident” and are updated by their list companies through the United States Postal Service. The USPS you say! How interesting. And they admit to mailing to every home in your neighborhood for greater coverage, which apparently provides a better response rate for local businesses. I’m sorry but every time I get one of these mailings they annoy me immensely and go straight in the recycling bin!

And here’s the best part, in order to ensure your address is removed from their mailing list, you have to return the actual envelope from one of the Valpak mailings to their address with the actual envelope label bearing the standardized address. Wow, they sure do make it hard and we have to pay the postage in order to accomplish this! But we never wanted to receive it on the first place!

8575 Largo Lakes Dr
Largo FL 33773

Or you can go to their mailing list suppression webpage and do the same, but be sure it’s exactly as seen on the address label or your won’t be removed!