Office Depot killed a tree for me

I got to the office this morning to find a package in my box from Office Depot.

I didn’t order anything. The last two things I ordered the past couple months was a 8GB CompactFlash card and a 4GB USB flash drive.

When I opened the box, an Office Depot catalog is staring at me. I didn’t request it.

On the back of the catalog cover, small text says:

This 4-page cover is printed on paper containing 10% postconsumer fibers.

What about the rest of the catalog?

Ooh, and there’s a $20 off coupon (with an order of $100 or more). Office Depot murdered a tree to thank me and send a coupon.

To make matters worse, I don’t see any way to opt out of this catalog.

At the bottom of the enclosed thank you letter, it was signed by Christine Buscarino, Sr. Director of Marketing.

Until your website includes a check box to opt in requesting a catalog (read: Don’t just send me one for kicks!), you won’t see me again.

Update (seconds after I posted this) — In small text on the back of the catalog, it states:

To update or remove your contact information from our mailing list, please call 800.915.4624, send an email to or send a copy of the address panel to: Office Depot Mailing List, P.O. Box 5009, Boca Raton, FL 33431-0809.

I still shouldn’t have to opt out of a catalog just because I ordered something and had it delivered to my place of work.

Chase also has a rough opt-out process

While sifting through papers, I found that I needed to call Chase to opt-out of sharing information to third parties and affiliate companies.

Why isn’t there a way to do this online?

Calling wasn’t difficult. But, their prompts are confusing.

“Do you wish to limit information…?”

Then again, I’m not sure how I’d word it. Whatever.

Related: Chase sucks with new privacy policy, opt-out process is painful! (DygiScape, August 12, 2009)

Jump thru hoops to opt out at 1-800 Contacts

I received a snail mail notice from 1-800 Contacts about my contact lens expiration. A few days later, I get a phone call. (It went to voicemail.)

There are currently no options in my account page that lets me opt out — why?!

As of March 2, 2009 in the Privacy Policy:

How do I remove my information from email, postal mailing and telephone lists?

If you prefer not to receive notice of promotions, reorder information or updates on contact lens laws by email, please click the “My Account” link at the top of any of the pages on, enter your email address and password and click on “email options”. You will be able to specify your email preferences on this page. If you wish to be removed from all email communications not related to your order, you can call one of our Customer Service Representatives at 1-800 CONTACTS (1-800-266-8228). If you prefer not to receive postal mail, please let us know by sending us an email at or call one of our Customer Service Representatives at 1-800 CONTACTS (1-800-266-8228).

PLEASE NOTE: Requests to be removed from the postal mail list may take up to 6-8 weeks to become effective. In addition, if you ask to remove your name and address from our email or postal mailing lists, we will maintain your name in a “do not mail” file to ensure that we can honor your request. When you make a purchase, we will send you an email to confirm your order, and send an email when your order is shipped. We may also need to contact you via phone, postal mail or email if we have other questions regarding your order.

Don’t make us do all this work to reduce junk mail and unwanted phone calls. We can easily get email notices, you know.

My stuff isn't free

Why do some of my friends and contacts[1. Especially from Flickr] swipe my photos without asking or giving credit? Everyone who has gone through high school have written essays requiring citation of their sources.

The same applies with photos. Furthermore, according to Section 1202 of the U.S. Copyright Act[2. via Photo Attorney], cropping or cloning out watermarks is illegal.

My Flickr profile only says: “No use without permission.”

I don’t like embedding watermarks in my whole photos. Now I understand why some photographers do that and it’s not their fault.

I’m not just making a big deal out of this. Jim M. Goldstein and Merlin Mann would agree with me.

Because I have a nice camera

The other day, I got a comment from a photo I took of them.

“Wow, you must have a nice camera!”

“Um, thanks,” I grimaced.

I think I know what they mean. Then again, let’s go through some analogies that have probably been exhausted.

  • To a chef: “Wow, this dish tastes fantastic! You must have an awesome oven.”
  • To a painter: “That piece looks immaculate! Your paint and brushes must be exquisite!”
  • To a writer: “I loved your novel – what version of [insert document processor] do you have?”
  • To a musician: “I loved that song! Your guitar has to be expensive.”
  • To a baseball slugger: “You’re an impressive hitter. Where did you buy your bat?”

Let’s go about this another way. Let’s say you watched a terrible indie film, and your friend was the leading role.

“So, how’d you like it?”

“I really liked the costumes.”

Look. It’s the tool, but only to a certain extent. Those are backhanded compliments — an insult in disguise. You might have the best intentions, but…no. Stop it.

More elaboration? Read the post and comments, too:

  • Eric Cheng — “You must have a nice camera: Part 1 and Part 2

Don't let email spammers verify you

Automatically viewing images from specific people in your Thunderbird address book is fine.

But, don’t add your own email address(es) into your address book and check that box. If a spammer ever gets your email address, and you open that email, images displayed inside the email will verify you.

Allow remote images in HTML mail within Thunderbird

I lasted about a year in minimizing spam. It’s starting to trickle now, but I hope it doesn’t get any worse.

For further information, read “Privacy basics [for] Thunderbird” at mozillaZine.

I know about Gmail. They appear to have the best spam filters[1. Compared to the other free webmail providers]. If you’re not paranoid about Google seeing everything, they’re the way to go. Do you have your own domain but want Gmail hosting? Look at Google Apps.