Thursday, October 23, 2008

Recruiting Volunteers: Stress Relief Through Absurdity and Humor

That last post might have been a bit premature. I'm working on a new photo-blogging series about anything that screws with big businesses in random ways.

First project:
1. collect Business Reply Mail envelopes from ANYwhere
2. Mail anything you want to get rid of back to the large corporation of your choice...assuming you can fit it into a standard envelope.
3. The entire point is to pin the cost of these mailings on these companies using the most ridiculous things you can dig out of your closet.
4. Write at least three standard English letters together and in sequence on something inside the envelope. For example, I might write "GF" on a piece of notebook paper that goes in the envelope.

Yes, it's been done before. Trillions of adolescents have probably used this as a subconscious tool for rebellion, all the while chuckling to themselves like weasels about how clever they were. While I am indeed chuckling like a weasel, I don't find it terribly clever anymore since I just gained a renewed interest in it via this quote from Honestly, who gives a shit? I'm also going to call OUR rebellion "Driving Up the Cost of Sending Junk Mail: An Externality on YOU from the Minds of Idiots." I'm also naming the rebellion "I like random shit people do for no apparent reason, Or Would You Kindly Get a Sense of the Absurd."

My official title in the rebellion shall be "Grand Field Marshal Mail Ninja." I may be addressed as "Marshal," "Sir," or "Comrade." Or Guy Fawkes, whatever.

Anyone interested? Trust me, this can be an effective outlet for some of that school/work/family/life stress that's on most of us. Just forget who you are right now and do something ridiculous

Better yet, POST SOME OTHER "PROJECT" IDEAS. Just brain-dump some comments with absurd things you've always wanted to do in ANY context, legal or illegal. This includes stabbing me in the face over the Internet.

4. DO NOT MAIL/SHIP ANYTHING THAT COULD EVEN CONCEIVABLY BE DANGEROUS. This also means do not send any illegal materials, whether or not they are dangerous while in the package. Unlike the failed revolution in which Guy Fawkes participated, nothing from this fun little distraction should cause ANY type of destruction.

I'm not saying this just to cover my ass. I mean it, internet peoplez. The idea here is to have fun and mock the American financial system (economy in general?...whatever you want to mock...mock mock mock). No one gets physically injured or even put in harm's way for any reason. For some helpful info on what NOT to send, here are a couple of links:

USPS Info RE: Hazardous Materials

USPS Aviation Mail Guidelines

The Aviation Mail Guidelines also contain links to the most current USPS guidelines on most other safety areas. Also, if your mail goes out through a method other than USPS...make sure you AT LEAST follow the USPS Safety Guidelines and anything additional your carrier requires.


Silly Little Law Student said...

No pictures?? :(

Work Related said...

As if the American financial system really needs more stress right now...

meg said...

My co-workers and I did this just last week! The mail was from some crazy evangelical church that claimed if we sent them money (of course) and pictures of us and/or family members (just weird) then "God would transfer wealth to us!" We just couldn't pass up the opportunity to send them a condom and some lube (in a sealed package of course).

mootgoescow said...

"As if the American financial system really needs more stress right now..." Exactly what I said. Alas, Guys Fawkes was not dissuaded.

Guy Fawkes said...

I offer a better question, at least from an economic perspective:

Will the personal utility we gain through engaging in this (or even thinking about the concept) be greater than the utility these actions or thoughts are likely to destroy?

Guy Fawkes said...

In other words, what do you guys think the expected value of this prank will be? Remember subjective utility ;)

Justice Moustache said...

thats a great idea. junk mailers are scum and i shall join you in your noble efforts.

Work Related said...

Sure, let's measure the marginal utility that you receive by harassing credit card companies versus the negative effect this has on the American GDP (yes, I went there -- the lost hours of productivity caused by the confused mail clerk opening your mail and the phone calls that follow) as well as the marginal increase in energy usage (and carbon emissions) caused by the extra usps truck that has to take your junk mail to the credit card companies in Delaware as well as the extra paper that had to be printed for the cease and desist letters you will inevitably receive

Guy Fawkes said...

@ work related

1. I hope you posted that comment from work. :)

2. Yes, I understand all that. I was only trying to make a point regarding the negligible impact of me mailing these envelopes. It's only a hunch...but I'm thinking ridiculous contents of business reply envelopes aren't what the Fed thinks about when they get together for the regular circle-jerk.

3. I bet those companies can dispose of these things FAR more efficiently than I can using my kitchen trash can and a wood-chipper. Perhaps that should be a factor in the calculation. Plus, my subjective utility from this little distraction is worth at LEAST $5 billion. Ok, maybe only $2 bil.