Free Time, Save a Tree and They are out to get You

31 Jul

TIME: What would you do with eight months of free time? How about write a book? Yes, junk mail sucks up that much time over the course of your life. That doesn’t include the years spent on spam e-mail.

You can stop the madness for just five dollars. Either go to or mail a check to: Mail Preference Service c/o Direct Marketing Association, PO Box 643, Carmel, NY10512

Experts say we get an average of 3,200 spam messages a year. Stop the tidal wave by going to

WORRIES: Concerned someone will steal one of those millions of credit card offers you get every year? Call 888-5-OPT-OUT. You’ll get a recording, but not to worry, they’re a secure organization. Or you can sign up for one of those identity theft insurance groups. I signed up for one of those (I won’t mention any names, but if you see the commercials with they guy who put his Social Security number on the side of a truck you know who got my business.) Just by signing up for that service all our pre-approved credit card offers stopped as did about 50% of the rest of the garbage mail. It was worth it just for that.

TREE: When you fill out contact information for anything, write “NO MAILING LISTS.” And always be sure to check the box on all forms (Internet included) that says you want nothing to do with mailing lists. That way you won’t get on any new lists and all those trees are safe in the forest turning all that nasty carbon dioxide into oxygen and saving us.

THEY ARE OUT TO GET YOU: I answered the phone about a month ago and it said the warranty on my car hadn’t been registered or was about to run out. Since I’d just been the recipient of a new ride, I pushed the button to make sure the car company hadn’t screwed up. Here’s what happened.

Him: This is Bob. The warranty on your car hasn’t been registered or was about to run out.

Me: On which car.

Him: My system is slow. I’m pulling up your account now.

I waited. (So far sounds legit.)

Me: Which car is this for?

Him: You have more than one? (This guy isn’t paying attention.)

Me: Yes. Which one is this for?

Him: My system is slow. I’m pulling up your account.

Me: Which car is this for? (I’m thinking this could be for either the old car or the new one. Except the old one after 11 plus years probably isn’t under anyone’s warranty.)

Yellow flag–Seriously…no one’s system is this slow.

Him: The one you drive the most.

Red flags and fireworks.

Me: Seriously! You expect me to bite on this? (Had I been a little quicker, or able to go back and edit my words, I would have said, “Oh, you mean the Bentley?” But I’m not and I can’t.)


I thought that was very polite for all of my time he’d wasted. A couple of weeks later, I saw on the news that there was a scam going around about car warranties. No kidding?!?!

This doesn’t have anything do with trees or saving time, but it could save you a lot of money. Give the caller my stock answer—No not that one—“If you’ll send me some information, I’ll look it over.” They rarely do. If they do, I’ve got something I can check into.

At your favorite Store. Then there’s the old ploy you get in the store. I know because I ask every customer, “Do we have your e-mail for sales and promotions?” That doesn’t mean I like it when I’m the customer. Easy fix. I have two e-mail addresses. One that I actually check and one I don’t. If I don’t want their e-mails, I give them the one I never check. This may seem silly, but the store gets props for the number of e-mails they collect. They’re happy. I’m happy. And we all go on with our lives.

There you go, my nutshell of wisdom. Emphasis on the nut part.

How do you handle intruders?


Posted by on July 31, 2012 in stress, time management


10 responses to “Free Time, Save a Tree and They are out to get You

  1. Liz Fredericks

    July 31, 2012 at 5:21 AM

    Ingenious Peg! I gave up my land line (and slightly regret it) because I was so tired of constant calls from my alma mater and about every window replacement company in the book. I figured the cell would work . . . not really. I’m now getting calls on the cell and I haven’t been giving that number out except to friends and family. I’ll check into the organizations you list. Peace of mind is worth it.

    • Peggy Staggs

      August 7, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      They are insidious aren’t they? There used to be real people when you answered the phone so you could tell them not to call. The theory was if you told them not to, they wouldn’t. It didn’t always work.

  2. Janis McCurry

    July 31, 2012 at 7:01 AM

    On a different sort of nuisance calls, count me among those who answer surveys on the phone. If it’s not too lengthy, I really don’t mind. I always as first how long it will take. If they say no longer than three minutes, I’m in. If they “lie” and it goes on and on, I say, “This is taking too much of my time. Good-bye.” Or I have fun with it. The last survey, the caller says, “Say yes or no.” I said, “Yes or No.” And he laughed. And I laughed.

    I know. A little bit weird.

    On the auto calls where the caller doesn’t immediately greet me, I just hang up.

    • Peggy Staggs

      August 7, 2012 at 4:52 PM

      There’s a secret. If you only say hello once the machine on the other end won’t pick up. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

  3. maryvine

    July 31, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    I just say, “No, thank you.” And hang up.That’s back when we got a bunch of calls. We got on the no call list and it’s helped bunches. Peggy, this reminds me of something I might read in a women’s magazine. You should have sent it in.

    • Peggy Staggs

      August 7, 2012 at 4:54 PM

      How sweet. Thanks you.
      I’ve always wished I could do that…just hang up. BUT I was raised by a Catholic mother who was great at instilling guilt. If I did hang up I’d stew about it all night.

  4. Lynn Mapp

    July 31, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    Thank you for sharing this information. At this point, I check my caller ID (almost always) because I don’t want to take these calls.

    • Peggy Staggs

      August 7, 2012 at 4:55 PM

      I think the person who invented caller ID should bet the Nobel Prize and a big kiss.

  5. Meredith Allen Conner

    August 1, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    I check caller ID and refuse to answer the phone if I don’t know the number . . . or I let my 7 year old answer and have at it 🙂

    • Peggy Staggs

      August 7, 2012 at 4:55 PM

      Ah, where is my seven year old when I need him? Oh, yeah, he just turned 32. Sigh.


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