So you would think that I would wholeheartedly approve of all of the companies that offer to make a charitable donation when you buy their products. In theory, I'm all for it. In practice, though, I can't help but wonder why they do things the way the do.
Food products are the biggest mystery to me. I'm sure you've seen the promotions where you buy the product, send in a portion of the packaging or the UPC code and they will make a donation to a designated charity, usually in the amount of about 10¢. If a stamp costs me 44¢ and an envelope costs about 5¢, it's costing me 49¢ to make a donation in the amount of a dime. I don't understand the logic here. Couldn't they just make a donation for each item sold? Or put a code on each product that you could enter on their website? It's also worth noting that some companies won't make the donation if the piece of packing (or UPC) is torn or missing a portion.
My issue isn't with the money, anyway. It's about the inefficiency of the money spent. Wouldn't any charity benefit more from a donation of 49¢ then a donation of 10¢? I could skip the stamp and the envelope and make a donation on the charity's website. Also, from a "green" perspective, is there a point in all of those envelopes when the same result could be accomplished with a few clicks of a mouse?
I'm not trying to persuade anyone against buying the products with the charity related packaging and I'm certainly not telling you not to send in the required packaging. I want the charities to get those donations, but I'd like to see the companies that make them come up with a more efficient way for consumers to make every cent count.
And on a lighter note, the idea of sending in portions of food packages had me thinking about the mail in general. In any post office sorting bin, what sort of things do you think you might find? There would probably be some magazines and catalogs as well as few newspapers. I would expect to see a few CDs and some DVDs, along with some small packages and postcards. Colorful envelopes containing greeting cards would account for a good portion, I would think. But the majority would most likely be standard sized envelopes. What's in the envelopes, do you suppose?
Most of them are probably computer generated letters, bills and statements. Some might be advertisements and a couple might be hand written letters (a dying art form). The rest could contain some semi-interesting things like the pieces of product packaging we talked about above, but you know there have to be some pretty weird and disgusting things mixed in, too. I mean, the number of envelopes that have been licked to activate the adhesive is enough to gross me out.
My dad and I once had a conversation about those cards they have at doctor's offices. You follow a specified diet and then send a "sample" to a lab for testing (I don't even want to know about the person who opens those envelopes). Yes, they do give you a special envelope to mail it in, and yes, it's a very small "sample", but still.....it mingles with the rest of the mail in the bin. Imagine accidentally finding one of those envelopes stuck between the pages of your latest issue of People magazine!
Everyone has heard the tale about Vincent Van Gogh sending his ear to the woman he loved. I'm hoping that was an isolated incident. I like to think that body parts account for less than .oo1% of the total mail processed on any given day.
The cocktail party will continue on Friday with a new guest blogger. It's not too late to RSVP if you haven't already. You can send your submission to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would appreciate it if you could send me your cocktail party post in html format. If you are submitting a new post, create it on Blogger as you would any post. Save, but don't publish it. From there you can click "edit html" and copy and paste your blog into the body of an email. If you are submitting a previously published post, go into "edit" and follow the same instructions. This makes it much easier for me to display your blog post the way you have written it and saves me a lot of editing. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me.