The mailbox blues

Garrison Ebie

I remember when getting mail was exciting. The mail man would slip a letter with a clever-looking stamp and hand written address into the box, and I’d think, “Gosh, I wonder who this is from? How thoughtful!”

Ever since the Internet took over the thought of sending physical copies of personal letters, the only thing I ever get in the mail is bad news. Sometimes I don’t even open it up for a week just because I already feel down in the dumps. It doesn’t help either when there is a gigantic pile of snow that’s been plowed aside from the street right in front of the mailbox. The snow goes up to my knees, and a dog peed on all this snow a few days ago. It must have been a big dog, too.

In other words, going out to get the mail has been a real drag lately. Aside from having to step into a large pile of yellow snow just to retrieve it, the contents are always the same: envelopes with the words “statement enclosed.”

When it’s not another bill, it’s always coupons. Hundreds of sheets of paper that line the entire mailbox with deals and specials and sales at stores I never even go to. Most of the time whatever is actually inside an important envelope gets lost in the madness if it’s left unattended for only a few days.

But those envelopes – those are not a treat. Those are evil. This is not the kind of mail I want to receive. They entice me to drain my bank account and eat Ramen noodles when there’s nothing left.

It’s not like I’m irresponsible or anything. I don’t go out and buy television sets, video games, expensive clothes or unreasonably large 300-watt Marshall stack amps that can rattle my house off its foundation (although it would be real nice). The only things I really spend money on are bills, food and booze. In fact, everything I own can probably fit into two boxes. Still, for some reason, everything I get in the mail still says I owe money for this and for that, as well as things I forgot all about.

The average college student graduates with $2,000 of credit card debt and $20,000 in student loans to pay back. For some reason, this does not seem high enough taking into account my yearly tuition, but those are the most reliable national stats I could find.

Lots of young people are broke. If you go to Kent State, chances are your family is not filthy rich. Even though a bank account might show a positive balance, everything that still needs to be paid back trumps this entirely. Do not be fooled, you are still broke. But don’t feel bad. Given this rationale, almost every business is broke. Even our government is broke.

It is regularly advised by responsible people that saving money is a good idea. This is wrong.

Credit cards are like crack cocaine for the average consumer. For those in debt, all you’re really doing to yourself is letting that 23 percent APR, along with the hidden monthly charges, add up to something grossly inappropriate and disgraceful. Financial institutions that hand out credit cards exist for the same reason as any other business: to make money – lots and lots of money. They are trying very hard not to be broke.

They don’t like you. They don’t like your family. Even if you die, they’ll just sell your debt to a collection agency and your parents will end up getting phone calls every day for the rest of their lives until someone pays that thing off.

Given the circumstances, the most logical thing to do is save nothing. Absolutely nothing and pay everything back. Once this is accomplished, you may be out of debt, but your mailbox will continue to fill up with credit card applications enticing you, begging you to please come back like a past lover who screwed you over.

How on earth can this stop? Even if everything gets paid off, we’re still at my initial problem with the mailbox. There’s way too much in there.

Well, I can let you in on a creative solution that may not end the paper assault but still allow for some retaliation.

Inside every credit card application is usually a return envelope with the postage already paid for. This envelope can legally be placed on anything that goes through the mail. This includes boxes up to a certain size and weight. Take a bunch of trash, fill up a box with it, slap on that envelope and take it to the post office.

Ta-da! – Chase Bank will receive a box of trash in the mail.

Garrison Ebie is an electronic media production major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].