Double Take

Taking a second look at life experiences

Archive for the tag “blogging”

Nonprofits: Please Stop Sending Me Mailing Labels!

Did George like receiving mail?

Did George like receiving mail?

by Ruth Schapira

We can’t throw them out and we do love seeing our name in print—in every font imaginable, as long as it fits comfortably in a 2″ long space. So, that’s why personalized mailing labels are overfilling my desk drawer. It’s a thing you can never give away. Why do I need to have a permanent relationship with sticky pieces of paper? That’s it, first it’s these labels that I’m having to save and now the US postal service stamps that don’t expire. They both want to cozy up and make a home for themselves here forever.

I know there’s no way, even if I sent 10 letters a day, that I would use up even a fraction of the self-adhesives sitting there, reminding me that I haven’t sent a letter in a very, very long time—in what seems like forever. There are more mailing labels than you can imagine, representing all kinds of animate and inanimate objects: flowers, wreaths, candles, menorahs, baseballs, dinosaurs, stricken animals, sad children. It’s as if you did a search on Google for ‘Images that get people to feel awfully guilty and sentimental so they’ll donate to your cause’ and these are the ones that you’d find.

There was an ethical question that I heard on a radio talk show years ago: “Do I have to donate to a cause because I received personalized mailing labels from them? I do use the labels, (any guesses as to the age of the caller?) so shouldn’t I make a donation?”

“No. You didn’t ask for them, so you’re not obligated. You can use them or throw them out.”

Aren’t non-profits strapped for cash? Every time I get a sheet of these shiny things, I feel like calling up the organization and asking them why they’re wasting precious resources sending me things that will (if I was a self-respecting clutter buster) end up in the trash? Why not just save the expense and put those dollars into the operating budget? In fact, you can forget the labels entirely, and I’ll even up my donation in honor of your prudent spending.

What I’m wondering is, who is actually mailing all of these letters with personalized labels? Not the people I know. Otherwise my mailbox would be filled with hand-written envelopes, adorned with personalized cutesy mailing labels, and displaying an actual stamp in the right hand corner. Instead the mail I get is sorely missing any evidence of human contact, which is why we call it junk, while online platforms nicely call it SPAM (reminding us instead of edible things in cans). What I receive in my post box usually ends up in the recycling bag.

When’s the last time a friend of yours said “I’ll send it to you” that made you think that you’d receive a letter? Since we all know the amount of first class mail we’ve been sending has dropped precipitously (this has been documented in wikipedia, which is why we know it’s true), what’s the deal here? Why the mailing labels for mail no one is sending? Is there some secret DIY site where people are coming with kitschy creative ideas for how to use those 2″ labels?

Wait, here’s a novel idea to make the post office feel a lot better: instead of counting and reporting my diminished mail output, why not track those organizations sending mailing labels instead? I’d bet those numbers sure have picked up. And you can even send me the results of your survey, but only if you’ve attached a personalized label. I won’t want to open anything else.

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11 words worthy of a double take (not including moist)

Read all about it!

Read all about it!

by Ruth Schapira

Words, sentences, more words. We read so much content (what did we say before we used the word content?) that sometimes we don’t think about the meaning or sound of the words we’re reading.

Do certain words seem funny to you? Or maybe even gross? Sometimes, I actually need to take a double take (quite clever the way I fit that in, huh?) when I think about some of them, so I decided to curate them into 2 lists (and you thought content was on point, what about curate? double take this: curating content!).

Before we go on, I promise, none of my word lists contain the word “moist”.

Why “moist” you ask?

Well, “moist” was quite the headline grabber a few years ago when this was circulated widely on the web: “Moist” And 28 Other Gross Sounding English Words That Everyone Hates . This must have created quite a stir, because BuzzFeed wrote their own contrary version a short time later: 18 Words Far More Disgusting Than “Moist”.

So, without the dreaded and overly used “moist word”, here are my lists of words that seem curious and disgusting:

WORDS THAT MAKE NO SENSE TO ME

  • Dogmatic (is this like an automatic dog — you know, the term for when a dog jumps up and down when seeing the dog-walking leash, or for when he salivates when seeing dinner poured from a bag, or for when he begins sniffing every new person’s private parts.)
  • Shoetree (really, is this like an oak or an elm?)
  • Shoehorn (what’s with these shoe words, anyway? I haven’t seen one of these in the Philharmonic recently, have you?)
  • Textured Vegetable Protein (It’s a mouthful to say, and positively weird to think that this might, in fact, go into your mouth as a food item. I doubt you’d prefer the more common acronym TVP when disclosing to your guests that you’ve prepared food they are about to ingest with the stuff, as in “Here’s my delicious chili recipe, prepared with TVP”. Yes, I do use it!!)
  • Thumb Drive (really? What exactly did your thumb have to do with the data that’s on your drive? And if it did, well, that’s another matter for another time….)

WORDS THAT SOUND WAY TOO DISGUSTING TO USE

  • Corpuscle (most medical terms have this effect on me, so I’ll try hard to limit myself to just a few. Think about it, did you just envision an image of a corpse? With no muscle? Yuck. Come to think of it, muscle doesn’t sound so wonderful either.)
  • Mausoleum (note that I’m not talking about what’s inside this thing, but the word alone conjures up for me a museum of mauses, not a pretty sight. No one would ever say “so, did you get to see that exhibit in the mausoleum?”)
  • Pew (really, that’s not exactly the best way to get me to stay at synagogue/church. “Here, let’s just sit in this pew”.)
  • Poultice (now, this is a thing that is supposed to be put on an injury to heal it, but I just think of chicken…and I’m not imagining a nice thing happening to that poor chicken either.)
  • Posture (and what occurs when you don’t have it, i.e. Pustule. Of course, I’m kidding. Pustule is related to that other word often used to describe nasty eruptions on the skin and equally disgusting-sounding, Pimple.)
  • Spelunking (for those of you who don’t know what this is, you can thank me now. This activity holds absolutely no appeal for me, as it is associated with places that are dark, dank and moist ….and you know I wouldn’t want to be involved with anything like that.

What Double Take Is About

Welcome! This blog takes a second look at life from a wry point of view. Do you see things that make you laugh? Cause you frustration? Do you see things differently than most people? Do you have great insights into everyday things? Do you often stop for a double-take? If so, then this is the place to read about similar feelings and hopefully share your experiences. Please comment so fellow readers and I can share your musings.

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