How Dare You Use My Personal Info

In these times of heightened concerns about scams and identity theft, I would like to know who’s brilliant (read this with a sarcastic tone) idea it was to take my name and address and print it over and over again on ugly personal labels in an attempt to entice me to donate to a cause.

Actually there had to be at least two people with this brilliant (again sarcastically) idea because this week I received two sets of address labels from two different charities saying “thanks” because they felt they had anticipated a need and did all the work for me in creating and sending me these Christmas labels. All I had to do was send them some money.

One of these packages also contained a nickel. Yes a real Canadian nickel with the Queen’s shiny head stuck sideways on the paper next to red arrow that said, show your support by adding your gift to the nickel! Then suggesting how much I should give them for their cause and my personal labels.

There are so many things wrong with this type of soliciting that I want to scream.

First. I feel it is presumptuous of any business, non-profit or otherwise, to assume that I want and will use these labels. I resent the fact that they had these produced with my personal information on them without my permission. How dare they?

I resent the fact that they assume that I will be sending out Christmas cards. What decade are these people from? Less and less people send actual cards these days except maybe little old ladies and I do not fall into that category. Christmas cards and these Christmas labels are not environmentally friendly. They are often created overseas in countries where wages are considerably lower. Think about it. How many things made in Canada can be produced cheaply enough that they can be given away free? These labels would be created blank then shipped to North America where they are digitally overprinted in black to fill in the addresses. Most things that are produced cheaply overseas are manufactured in countries that do not respect the environment the way I do or the way that many other North Americans do. Not to mention the environmental footprint from the shipping of all this cheap junk to North America.

And speaking of little old ladies, I resent the fact that they are probably the letter’s main target market because these older woman hate to waste anything and will feel guilty using these labels without paying for them. They will send money even if they have little to send and, believe me, there are a lot of single elderly women (and men) who have limited income but feel they need to give to these things. You can be darn sure that charities are not sending these packages to twenty or thirty year olds. Younger generations would not fall for a scam such as this. Yes I said scam.

About fifteen years ago, there was some controversy about these charity-sent address labels. Complaints and plenty of coverage in news stories. How quickly such things are forgotten by generations of leaders and doers. At that time I had received at least four sets prior to Christmas and produced a letter, which I sent them in their self-addressed, postage-paid envelopes, voicing my displeasure. Now charities are purchasing mailing lists and doing it again. So I guess I will be once again returning their envelopes with my letters. I will have to remember to also return the nickel.

I certainly have no problem with charities asking me for donations. I have no problem donating to charities. But I refuse to donate to any charity who has a blatant disregard for the environment and my personal information.

So now what do I do with all these labels, over eighty in total, that I don’t want and that have my personal information repeated at least that many times on? They are not recyclable, not that I want to toss all those instances of my personal information in the recycle bin. But then again, I also don’t want to toss them in the garbage can. I remember one little old lady, from the stories of fifteen years ago, showing a reporter all the labels she had received over time that she was keeping in a drawer because she didn’t know what to do with them. I imagine that there are many more drawers belonging to elderly people that also contain these. Labels that will be found after they are deceased. Family members, not knowing the backstory, shaking their heads wondering what and why. So in the interest of not having these found in a drawer in twenty or thirty years from now by JT or someone else, I have decided to throw them in the wood stove because I am lucky enough to have a safe place to burn them. However I would prefer to have not received them to begin with.

Thank you for reading.

Photo by Jenn Stone

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