November 24 2007

A Paperless Society

catalogsRecently my Mother was out of town on business, and I had sorted the mail for her while she was out.

This lovely example to the left is the catalogs she got while she was gone. Mind you, this was after I had already thrown out the duplicates that she sometimes gets. So the result was 8 & 1/2″ of catalogs. I didn’t think to weigh it, I should have.

How many times since the Internet got big have we heard we will be entering “a paperless society”? That always kills me to hear because our daily mail is just stack upon stack like this.

The part that kills me is most of those come from companies we deal with online, so they know we’re online capable, but yet they feel the need to send us printed catalogs. Why waste the paper, the mailing fees, the toxins released in to rivers, and everything also involved in printing and mailing? We used to turn them in to shred and use them for packing material, but we get more than we could ever use, and they just keep coming and coming.

Every so often I have a customer request a print catalog of our products, and we haven’t produced any sort of printed material in eight years or more. Why should we? We have multiple web sites, updated multiple times a day, no print catalog could ever keep up with that sort of timeliness. Sure, some people in this world still aren’t online, but how would they know to go to our website and request a catalog? They wouldn’t.

I don’t fault people who still like tangible items, heck, I still prefer a hard copy book over an ebook any day, but that’s a book, something I read in bed. (Yes, I am aware of Amazon’s Kindle, but I’m just not that interested)

In short: I just don’t get it.  Can’t we save a few trees and let people who order online just check a box saying “Please, no print catalogs”?

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