Hugh Dixon: Other people's junk mail
Wouldn't it be nice just for once if the post that hits your doormat every morning (or is it afternoon these days?) was actually worth the bother of opening?
Even after you've tried to stem the flow of bad news by arranging paperless bills, paperless bank statements, paperless tax forms, the junk just keeps on coming.
Here's a waste of trees from Sky, pleading with you to come back to their slower-than-the-one-you've-got-now internet connection.
Here's the pulped remains of a small forest from Barclaycard, offering you the chance to stretch the pain of repayment even further into the future.
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Here's a tasteful square of pasteboard from Google, promising riches beyond your wildest dreams if you follow some incomprehensible instructions and fill your blog with carefully targeted adverts.
Here's one for Mrs D called Teacher Catalogue, which fortunately doesn't offer her the opportunity to trade in her current spouse for a new model with freshly-brushed Hush Puppies, corduroys and horn-rimmed specs, but is in fact a sales brochure for textbooks and interactive CDs, pupils for the educating of.
And here's a multi-coloured charity gatefold, reminding you that Christmas is only three months away and hadn't you better be doing something about it now? Charity, in this case, begins in the dustbin.
Although it doesn't really. Because being a security- and environment-conscious type person, you have to open every piece of junk mail, shred the sheet with your name and address on it and recycle the rest.
This is the 2st century, for heaven's sake. By now we were supposed to be living in a better world, driving flying cars and sending messages by thought waves. Oh, and eating plankton.
But here we sit, Canute-like, before an ever-rising tide of information we don't want to read from companies we don't want to do business with.
Just you wait, though, until you foolishly agree to receive forwarded mail from relatives who are spending a couple of years abroad. That's when the fun really starts.
Thud on the doormat. Yachtie catalogue. Thud again. Yachtie lifestyle magazine, filled with pictures of unattainable tat. Thud the third. Yachtie price list. In which anything bigger than a bathtub will set you back a sum not unadjacent to £150,000. Plus VAT.
All right, the relatives are on their own yacht. But this is rubbing it in.
And then, with a fourth and final thud, arrives The Installer magazine. No connection with The Enforcer, or The Terminator, or The Predator, you understand, but (it says here) "essential reading for heating, plumbing and renewables professionals".
Leaving moot the question of what a renewables professional does for a living, The Installer offers readers a tantalising glimpse into the world of integrated home automation systems, fan-assisted radiators and, if you want a laugh, DIY plumbing disasters that the professionals have been called in to sort out.
A bit too close to home, really, but it does answer one question.
Why can you never get a plumber when you want one? Because they're all swanning around on their yachts.