The old paper trail

I’m old-school about paying my bills, in more ways than one. I always pay them on time, of course, but also I write out checks and put them in the U.S. mail. I buy stamps in bulk at Costco and order checks four boxes at a time. Online banking is fabulously convenient, but I like the high-touch ritual of writing and stamping and licking envelopes. I know online bill pay is better for the environment (less paper), much faster and probably equally secure (although I have my doubts sometimes), but it’s not for me. I am doing my part to keep the Post Office in business.

Nonetheless, I am pleased to see that my cell service provider, Sprint, has taken a big step toward reducing paper waste by sending their statements in an envelope that can be repurposed into a reply envelope.

Here’s the front:

And the back:

Follow the easy directions for opening and refolding and you’ve got a reply envelope to which you can apply that first-class stamp and send on its way.

I think that’s both clever and smart, and I’m glad to see Sprint making it easy to continue using the mail to pay my bill. I like technology, I really do, but I love pens and ink and paper and envelopes and stamps and the U.S. Post Office even more.

I have to wonder, though, how much longer I’m going to have the option of paying my bills with paper checks and using my stash of first-class “Forever” stamps. I would not be surprised to see the use of both end in my lifetime, along with printed telephone books, incandescent light bulbs, and DVD players. I’ve already observed the extinction of typewriters, film cameras and phone booths, and I miss them all. I’m going to stay on the paper trail as long as I can.


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