Most of the unsolicited cards, envelopes, and circulars filling my mailbox have the same address on the label, though few of them have my name on the top line. The new wave of salutations apparently is intended to sound personally impersonal. “Occupant” and “Current Resident” must have been deemed a little too callous, although electricians may still prefer the latter.
From a well-known financial institution comes a mailing to get up to $500 if I nibble at the bait of opening a checking and savings account with that bank. The brochure, with a return address of a Post Office Box in Ohio, is addressed to “Our Neighbor.” Although a branch bank is undoubtedly located closer to me than the Buckeye State, people in my neighborhood who have been around this block once or twice are not likely to chase after offers requiring a $15,000 savings deposit to cash in on the $500 offer.
A medical college that sends me a health publication occasionally is located in my area of the state which, I suppose, is why the top line of the label gets a little more personal by designating me as a “Dear Neighbor.” Because most of the issues deal with vascular and circulatory concerns, I expect a coming issue to be addressed to “Dear Hearts and Fragile People.”
An oversized postal card from an exercise franchise with nearly a dozen locations in the state calls me “Fitness Friend.” I suspect many postal patrons are not hypnotized by the steely stare of the healthy lass trying to entice people to join her exercise experience. The response of “I choose my own friends” is apt to be on the slightly flabby lips of many who receive the card. Those recipients who bother to read the repetitive copy of “Zero down, zero contracts, zero reasons not to join, zero excuses” can likely add one more: “Zero chances of me joining, my erstwhile friend.”
In a time when houses are selling within days of being listed, realtors are assaulting me weekly with cards showing color photos of ranch homes sold on one side and the exclamations “Now is the time to sell!” and “Get a Sold sign in your yard!” on the other. Addressing the label to “Home Owner” prompts this one to say, “That’s the way it’s going to stay” and “Not only don’t I want your signs in my yard, keep your cards out of my mailbox.”
The mailer with 20 or more slips inside assumes there are multiple residents at home with a “To our neighbors at” line above the address. Restaurants who use this service could band together to send their own envelopes with the address line “To the carry-outers at.” The blinds, shutters, and remodeling companies could market to “Window Shoppers.” Plumbers might get a response from “Fellow Flushers.” Businesses offering pet care and other animal services could cast a very wide net with “All Creatures Great and Small.”
In the end, being addressed by name is preferable to a dispassionate “Residential Customer” or even a presumptuous “Valued Customer.” Of course, in the end there is one form of address that might be considered a little too personal regarding our end: “Dearly Beloved.”