DEAR ABBY: I empathize with "Not a Millionaire," who is barraged with charitable appeals. Last year, I received 14 boxes of greeting cards and 11 calendars sent by charities, along with six to eight appeals a week in my mail.
Even more annoying are the charity solicitation calls -- usually right in the middle of dinner. I have set my answering machine to state my phone number and, "We welcome all calls except charity appeals and product/or service solicitations." This stops them, and they hang up. I hope this suggestion will help him. -- CONNIE S., PASADENA, CALIF.
DEAR CONNIE: Your hint to put the message on your answering machine is a good one. If it doesn't help "Not a Millionaire," I'm sure it will help another reader. In some states, the "We do not accept calls from solicitors" message is offered by the phone company as an optional add-on. Unfortunately, that isn't the case in California. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: The answer to being solicited to death by charities is simple -- send money orders. You have a copy for your tax records, and the charity doesn't have enough information to put you on a donor list. I've done it for years. It works like a charm. -- NO LONGER BOMBARDED IN FLORIDA
DEAR NO LONGER BOMBARDED: Clever idea. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I work for a nonprofit organization. May I make a suggestion? Cut off a mailing label from the solicitation you received and mail it to the charity, requesting that your name be removed from their mailing list. Then make your yearly donation to them -- WITH THE REQUEST THAT THEY NOT ADD YOUR NAME TO THEIR MAILING LIST.
We appreciate all donations but don't wish to offend anyone who doesn't wish to hear from us regularly. We always comply with requests that names be removed if we're provided with all the information needed to remove the name. -- HAPPY TO COMPLY, PA.
DEAR HAPPY TO COMPLY: Would that all charities be so cooperative. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I feel for "Not a Millionaire." In an effort to solve this problem, I tried an experiment in the first six months of last year. My system worked and continues to work. My "unwanted mail" has been reduced by 80 percent to 90 percent.
(1) Purchase a rubber stamp that says, "Please remove this name and address from your mailing list." Approximate size: 1 inch by 1/2 inch. Approximate cost: $7.
(2) Open every request for donations. If you do not want to make a donation or hear from them again, take your rubber stamp and stamp the request in several places in the area containing your name and address.
(3) Place the request in the envelope provided and return it to them.
(4) Do not put your name and address on the outside of the envelope.
(5) Be consistent and persistent.
It may take several months before you see results. I had to notify some organizations more than 10 times before they got the message. Many send solicitations from more than one address. -- SMARTER THAN THE AVERAGE BEAR
DEAR BEAR: You're not only smarter than the average bear, but you're also more patient.