Online Coupons vs Junk Mail – A No Brainer

Junk mail

If there’s anything worse than getting bills in the mail, its probably all the junk mail and coupons from companies I’m not interested in.  At least the bills require some attention (really, I’ll pay all my bills online anyway so these paper notices are fairly obsolete as well).

Don’t get me wrong – everyone loves a good coupon that can save some money on a purchase.  But dozens of pages of coupons for companies and products I don’t need is just turning the every day mail into a huge waste of time & resources.  Newsflash to advertisers:  We’ve got a better system of distributing coupons and discounts, its called the internet!

Public Subsidy for Mail

First of all, these paper coupons are being partially funded by taxpayers like you and me.  The United States Postal Service (USPS) isn’t pulling in a profit, its drawing off public funds that could instead be going to education, infrastructure, or just staying in the accounts of individuals and businesses in the first place.  Sure we need a post office and its associated services, sure it even makes sense for taxpayers to pay a portion of it to keep it in business.  But why should taxpayers be left with the bill when a large part of what the service is being used for is to deliver a bunch of coupons and advertisements that directly benefit some companies rather than the general populace?

Keep the coupons online – don’t make the taxpayer shoulder the bill for distribution!

Paper Trash instead of Trees

I’m not exactly a lock-step environmentalist, but you won’t find me excusing wasteful uses of the planet’s resources, either!  Look, I like to make money as much as the next guy, but we can do that in a way that preserves value for future generations.

Trees don’t seem all that exciting, heck they can even be a nuisance when it comes to branches and trunks falling down in a storm.  But this planet isn’t going to work right if we keep turning trees into clipable vouchers and piles of paper trash.  I swear, they’re sending us a small forest worth of paper every year.  So save a tree – publish your freaking coupon book online!

Customer Intent

I know you want to sell that can of sardine flavored pinto beans that wouldn’t move at retail price, but how much money are you spending to practically give them away at the reduced price?  Trust me, its a lot easier to update your blog or twitter status.  Fans of sardine flavored pinto beans will find you.

If your really want to make sales using coupon codes, its pretty dang easy and efficient online.  Let the customer know about the product, the price, and the rest just sort of happens.  As long as its the best price, the customer will find your deal.

So save a tree and sell more sardines, get these coupons out of my mailbox and on to your company’s blog!


  1. It is incorrect to say the Postal Service is supported by tax-payer funding. USPS is solely funded by postage and other revenue it receives from the mailing public. The are some appropriations made by Congress for reduced-rate or “free” services such as franking priviledge, matter for the blind, and Library Mail. However, Congress has rarely paid the full amount that these services incurred, so that mailers must cover that portion of overhead costs that should have been reimbursed. This is the way that USPS has operated since the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970.

  2. hey John,
    I enjoyed your rant (LOL), and you may be interested to know that you rank #1 on google for “sardine flavored pinto beans”… but where’s my coupon? 🙂
    I have heard that the US Postal Service actually has to be self-sustaining now, and that they don’t get taxpayer support, which is why they keep raising the price of a stamp every 12 days. I have also heard that because of email, online billpay, etc., they don’t get enough first class mail anymore and rely on bulk mail (junk mail) to raise enough money to keep afloat. This could also be propaganda put out by the bulk mail (junk mail) association of America though. Anyway, not junk mail or junk email for me, and no sardine flavored pinto beans either, coupon or no coupon!
    ~ Steve, Pinnacle Trade Show Booths

  3. I happen to be one of the owners of MyJunkTree and as a new company I search the web to see if we are getting any visibility out there and I post n relevant Blogs.

    We launched the company because we were tired of all the junk mail we were receiving and we personally did not want to bounce all over the web to contact all the different companies to stop it all. First and foremost we wanted to let people choose what they wanted to let come to their home knowing that some people really do like some of the coupons and catalogs. So our clients choose what they want stopped.

    We also had to provide a service that is different than the other services out there, so here is what we offer:

    1. We have a database of over 1300 catalogs that you can choose to stop.
    2. We have over a 5700 charities/Non-Profits that you can stop solicitations from.
    3. Stop the delivery of the national phone directories.
    4. Stop the delivery of the weekly coupons.
    5. Stop the general credit card offers as well as the ones from your own major bank.
    6. Stop the miscellaneous junk mail from the data brokers.
    7. You can register on the National Do Not Call Registry from the website.
    8. You can order your no strings attached free annual credit report right from the website.
    9. We plant trees with every new membership.

    And, yes we are a paid service and yes you can do everything that we do for free, if you want to do all the research and spend the time contacting the companies yourself it can easily be done. We have just done all of the legwork for our clients and feel there is value in the service we provide. So check out MyJunkTree and make difference in your mailbox.

  4. Please ask all of the businesses in your neighborhood you know to go to our web site and put their free coupon there. Then contact us and we’ll send them all nice window signs so their customers will know they are on line at our web site.
    I’ve been selling direct mail advertising for 20+ years. First srated with Val Pak and then began my own company Coupon Depot about 17 years ago. Although I am in the business of filling up the traditional mailbox with coupons from local business (mind you, because it still works) I DO believe the internet IS the future of couponing as we know it today. And yes, even my paper company will one day be unnecessary.

    Johnny Coupon

  5. I heard that recently the post office has been having some financial difficulties, and it’s understandable because they have so many locations and the amount of deliveries continues to decrease. With the invention of the internet, regular post office mail is becoming increasingly less popular…

    I like your save a tree theory very much

  6. Annoying unsolicited mails are really annoying. However, they are equally annoying as deals being propagated by irresponsible online stores that use unethical approcahes such as spamming our inboxes.

    Here’s how to deal with them: spend a few minutes scanning mails, both from the physical mailbox and in your inbox. Pick those that make sense. Segregate them from the useless. In the case of emails, have those useful starred so you can go back at them when it’s time to use them. For the rest, get ready to shred, or mark them spam. I had mails that I even labeled “return to sender”. It changed the situation.

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