Unsolicited Advice to Big Businesses Big and Small

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I volunteer in the children’s department of our church twice a week prepping activities for kids every Sunday. Because of the large volume of children that visit weekly, we often order various supplies from different companies large and small. After seeing numerous types of packaging, I have some unsolicited advice to offer.

Please refrain from sending paper catalogs with every shipment. Some companies are worse than others about mailing unnecessary paper advertisements or catalogs. The difficult thing for me to understand is that all ordering is completed online through a company’s online catalog, yet paper ones are often sent with the shipment of the product. If clients are successfully ordering online, why would a paper catalog be needed, and why would the company anticipate that a client would prefer a paper catalog over the online version? It saddens me every time I dump the catalog into the waste knowing trees, chemicals and time were completely wasted.

Instead consider giving the client the choice to order a paper catalog only if requested. If the reduced paper printing results in savings for the company, consider using it to benefit hard working employees, hire a new employee or donate the money to an organization that promotes replanting of trees.

Please refrain from unnecessary packaging. My children’s school requested allergy friendly stuffed Easter eggs for a recent egg hunt. For my two year old, I quickly grabbed a package of miniature bubbles to stuff inside the eggs versus fretting over the right candy that would be appropriate for two year olds. As I opened the package, there was not one but three layers of plastic surrounding the bubbles that did not include the plastic container that contained the bubble solution. The layers of plastic became more trash for our landfills.

Instead consider packaging that uses the minimal amount of plastic material required or needed to reduce waste. In the process, a company might discover an increase in profit margin.

Please limit mailed advertisements. Like many others are likely experiencing, we rarely receive much real mail to our home address. Most days I walk from our mailbox to dump the junk mail directly into our recycle bin. Despite a more digital world, we are overwhelmed with the amount of paper that enters our home to be able to sift through or read any of the mailed advertisements.

Instead work hard, do good work, be good to customers and let your work, work for you. Learn how to advertise on websites such as Angie’s List, the Nextdoor and Facebook where many people are looking for advice and recommendations from other people we trust. In the process, you might just save some money in marketing as well as our trees.


Writer Bio: Summer Bolte

I spend most of my time and days with my three kids, husband and dog. My kids frequently play near me as I garden, cook, DIY and volunteer. My most unusual paying job has to be feeding fruit flies in a research lab, and my most fulfilling job was being an oncology nurse for seven years.  

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