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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Gourmet Junk Mail....

Gourmet Junk Mail

At this time of the year, my mailbox begins to sprout gourmet food gift catalogs. It seems that everyone with your address and a mail order business wants to sell you their goods. I don't know how they all get my name as I have never ordered anything from most of them. I suppose these businesses exchange lists of potential mail-order customers.

The gift catalogs start arriving at the beginning of October. At first it is only a trickle. Before Christmas it becomes an avalanche of sausage and cheese, gourmet popcorn, decorated cookies, gourmet popcorn, spiral hams, gourmet popcorn, fruit baskets, gourmet popcorn, chocolate candy and gourmet popcorn.

I blame my sister for the popcorn. One year she sent me a can of fancy popcorn from The Popcorn Factory. I'm sure it was supposed to be a one-time transaction, not a life-long friendship. They flood you with catalogs not only at Christmas, but all year long. I got even with my sister for giving them my address, though. The next year I sent popcorn to her.

I think these places must have a pretty good idea of what happens to the catalogs shortly after they hit the door. Otherwise, why would they send another one a week later? Maybe they think you will eventually break down and order. Or maybe they think your trash can is full of catalogs sent by the people they gave your address to and there isn't room for another.

And what do you do with all the fancy tin cans that this stuff comes in anyhow? They are too pretty to throw away, but you really can't use a decorative tin Christmas can for much … except popcorn. So, I put them in the attic.

When I finally decided to clear the attic out one year, there were dozens of empty cans, too pretty to throw away. I gave them to charity. I don't know what the charities do with them. Probably sell them back to gourmet gift catalog stores.

This year I got a catalog from a new place called Cheryl's. Cheryl makes decorated cookies. She really thinks highly of her product. You can get a free sample of 6 cookies for $6.99 shipping. That comes out to over dollar a cookie in my book. I had the ridiculous idea that the cost of free stuff was nothing.

We all know that the postal employees play soccer with packages at Christmas, especially when they are marked fragile. With my luck, my friend would end up with a box of gourmet cookie crumbs. I guess they overcharge for stuff to pay for the cost of printing up the glossy color catalogs.

I just bought a tray of decorated cookies at Walmart for $6 and got a couple dozen. Walmart doesn't pack them in fancy cans and mail them for you, though. Or maybe they do. They just didn't have my address to send me a catalog.

One year I thought I would save all the catalogs that came and see how many I got in one season. I had to end up throwing them away. By the middle of December, the coffee table collapsed.

After that, I began to have reoccurring nightmares that the gourmet gift catalogs stacked up so high they fell over and buried me. It was awful. What was even more awful was when I checked the mailbox and found my dream coming true.

My sister says she loves to order thing. by mail. By the time the package finally arrives, she has forgotten what she ordered, and it is almost like getting a gift in the mail.

I just thought of a use for the leftover cans. I can use them to hold all the catalogs.

Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss

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