All of us expect some amount of junk mail to be waiting for us when we open our mailboxes every day. As for myself, I have a ritual with my junk mail – I separate it from the bills, then tear it all in half, and dump it into a recycling container immediately. Out go the coupon circulars, the ‘Open Immediately!’ envelopes, the unwanted catalogues, all with a satisfying rrrriiipp! This way, the junk rarely makes it past the threshold of my house, as we have an easily-accessable recycling bin outside the garage.
Then one day last week, I opened my mailbox and found myself facing a piece of junk mail I had no hope of simply ripping in half and tossing into the bin on my way back to the house. I’m speaking of the inch-thick Restoration Hardware ‘Source Book’ and its ‘Big Style/Small Spaces’ supplement.
That, right there, is 844 pages devoted to selling me furniture and home accessories I can in no way afford. Plus, there is an extra flyer on top, explaining how this sizeable stack of paper is as earth-friendly as can be, as it is printed on PEFC-certified paper. Oh, the flyer also details that RH only sends out these splendidly green ‘Source Books’ (ugh) twice a year (rather than monthly!), and encourages its customers to ‘participate in recycling programs…’. It even gives you an out – it says if you no longer want to receive the book, just contact them and they’ll remove you from their mailing list.
Dear RH, does the same computer program that gave you my address also tell you that I haven’t spent a dime in any of your stores in, oh, three years, at least? Can it not inform you that the few times I have purchased something from you, I have never spent anything close to even $100? I don’t buy your worn leather couches. I don’t buy your industrial-chic floor lamps. I can’t even bring myself to buy one of your photo frames, they’re so over-priced. So why send me this tome of home stylery?
And since when does shipping out 845 pages of paper (wrapped in plastic) to a customer who no longer darkens your doorstep count as an act of preserving the environment? RH, save these oversized dream books for the folks who regularly give you revenue, at least.
The only way I can think of making this catalogue friendly to the environment is to hope that someone on Etsy will soon figure out a way to upcycle them into funky folk art or purses or something with the word ‘steampunk’ in it.
RH, call your catalogue what you will, but I’m not buying the ‘green’ part. I have taken your advice, however, and removed myself from your mailing list. One less customer for you to go all green on.