pic credit: ShawnMichael via Flickr
When I moved to DC, one of the first things I did was subscribe to Washingtonian. It's an excellent resource for what's hot in the area and serves as the US Weekly of Washington insiders for those of us lurking around the Beltway. The rate was cheap (way cheaper than the cover price, of course) and though more issues ended up sitting in my "to read and file" box than actually getting read, it was still nice to get every month.
After moving to my new house in DC proper last summer from the Maryland 'burbs, I of course changed my address with anyone who had the old one, which wasn't many people since I try to stay as off the grid as possible whenever I can. One of the entities to receive my new home address was Washingtonian (how else was I supposed to get the magazine?).
A few weeks in my new place go by and suddenly I am receiving mail addressed to me from Nestle Pure Life, insurance companies and weird Washington charity organizations. Clever girl that I am, I adjust my address just a touch for each entity that I give it to (except for the District of Columbia, of course, as they know my proper street address - they need it to send me outrageous speed camera tickets) so I noticed that all of these "OFFERS JUST FOR ME" happened to be addressed in the exact way Washingtonian has my name and address on file.
Which means they sold me out. Not only me, HOME me. You guys may not realize this but, uh, my line of work is kind of dangerous. Call me paranoid if you like but I'm highly guarded of my personal information, at least when it comes to my home address (who isn't these days, right?). Granted, anyone stupid enough to get their hands on my address and actually show up to the DC slums will be greeted by an unprecedented ass-whooping courtesy my friends the neighborhood thugs but that's beside the point.
Unsolicited marketing mail - to me - is a violation of my privacy. "Or current resident" mail is annoying enough but this stuff had my full name and adjusted address slapped all over it. I'll tell you where you can stick your Nestle Pure Life...
Anyway... Washingtonian keeps sending me subscription reminders so I guess it's time to break it to them that I will not be renewing. I realize my bitch ass $40 a year isn't much to them but to me, my privacy is worth far more than that.
Instead of ignoring the repeated reminders, I wrote this and will be including it in the return envelope they provided with a big fat "STOP MAILING ME" across the front of the letter they keep sending me. Maybe they'll get the hint.
As much as I love your magazine, I will regretfully be unable to renew my subscription.
Why, your marketing department asks? Because not soon after I moved and changed my address with you, I began receiving large amounts of unsolicited marketing mail sent to MY HOME.
I was quickly able to identify Washingtonian as the source of this spam mail as my address on said spam mail appears slightly different from other mail I receive - a trick I learned to isolate the cause of unwanted marketing mail.
In other words, you sold me out. I PAY YOU and expect that my home address remains sacred but alas, you did not seem to agree.
While I suspect you will continue providing my private and personal information to marketers long after my subscription expires, I respectfully request you do not do so. I also ask that you stop sending me renewal reminders as I have absolutely no intention to do so.
I'm sorry it had to come to this but I take violations of my privacy seriously. I'm small potatoes in this town - relatively speaking - so I can only imagine how mortified true Washington movers and shakers might be if they knew your magazine is in the habit of recklessly selling subscriber information to unrelated third parties.
I hope you will reconsider this tactic going forward as I am surely not the only person who feels sold out when my information is pimped out to third party marketers without my express permission.
My failure to renew my subscription should be perceived as the exact opposite.
Remember kids, you own your identity, not marketers and the pimps who provide them with packages of thousands upon thousands of other people's identities. It's time to take back your name, your address and your life.
MY MAILBOX, MY RULES.