The previous owner of my house is still on the Smithsonian catalog mailing list.
As those of you who've been around for a while know, I moved into my condo in November of 2003. That's over 26 months ago.
So I've gone through the following procedure about 25 times:
- I receive a Smithsonian catalog addressed to Ms. Anderson, the previous owner.
- I call Smithsonian's toll-free number.
- (optional) Sometimes, I navigate through their phone tree only to find out that their "leave a message to be removed from our mailing list" voicemailbox is full.
- I eventually speak to a live customer service rep.
- I explain how long I've been trying to be removed.
- The rep takes Ms. Anderson's information and assures me that this time she'll really be removed from the list.
- (optional) Sometimes, the rep expresses surprise or confusion over the fact that Ms. Anderson is listed as having been removed from their list several times.
- A month passes.
- Repeat procedure.
(Note: "Repeat procedure" is as close as a tech writer can get to that most glorious of stage directions, "Repeat play," from Samuel Beckett's play Play.)
At this point I've passed beyond annoyance and into mild amusement. I've asked them to have a manager call me about it tomorrow, but I'm pretty sure I've spoken to managers about it before, to no avail.
Tonight, the customer service rep suggested that I call my congressperson. I think she had in mind that by doing so I could get put on do-not-send-junk-mail-to lists, but that wouldn't help; it's not me who's on the Smithsonian list, it's Ms. Anderson. I suppose what I should really do is send her name and my address to the Direct Marketing Association. But that sounds too much like giving up. :)