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on Jun 18, 2014
Thank you for posting the link to end the mailing/subscription. Really a BIG mistake by Restoration Hardware.
I returned my catalogs and left them at the front door of the store
the same day I received them. That was the most irresponsible, stupidest
marketing ploy I have ever seen. I will never patronize RH again. Ever.
Also their signature dark gray color building on University doesn't work
at that location, and greatly harms the streetscape, but if they send out
catalogs like that unsolicited, I'm sure they are not concerned about
the streetscape or anything to do with the environment. This is a
self-serving enterprise period and it blew up in their face despite
what they said.
Thank you! I immediately transported it to recycling and was appalled by the wastefulness! Bravo to you for taking the time and initiative to address it directly with RH.
I've had my unopened catalogs ready to return to the store. Kudos to whoever got that done the same day.
Not to pile things on, but why is RH furniture look like it's made for giants?
The above reactions are absurdly overblown. When I got the catalogs, at first I was surprised because it certainly seemed wasteful. Then I read the explanation, to the effect that multiple mailings over the year were more wasteful than a single mailing. That seems credible. I personally don't want to receive the catalogs, so I put them in my recycle bin, and got on their website and unsubscribed from their mailing list. The people who drive to the store to hand back the catalogs are wasting gas and further damaging the environment. A non-trivial segment of the catalog recipients undoubtedly are in the market for the company's wares, and do appreciate the convenience of a hard copy catalog set. As the article explains, sales are indeed generated from this marketing effort.
What about the elderly, or people who aren't able to hoist the behemoth catalogs off the doorstep? It was just so absurd. Bravo to those who took action; I happened to see it on the news tonight. Until I have the energy to open it for recycling the cat is using it as a perch.
Whenever I received unwanted catalogues or junk mail, I REJECT them by blocking out the address and putting them back in the mail. After a while, the senders get the hint. You can buy a stamp that says this, and as I understand the USPS is to return that to the sender, but I have never tracked this. The USPS also recommends crossing out the name and writing NSP (as No Such Person) to get the stuff returned.
My other comment however is with the USPS itself. I have taken great lengths to reduce my junk mail to little avail because as soon as I get rid of one, new junk pops up. The USPS's response is that they get paid to deliver junk, and so they must. As I understand it, it is the only thing the keeps the USPS running these days, and even that might not save it from the eventual demise.
I stopped buying from RH ever since I ordered an overpriced piece of bathroom furniture which was shown in their online catalog to have a marble top.
It arrived without a marble top, and when I called them about it they took the item off the website and said they no longer carried it. Then they denied that it ever came with a marble top. I had taken a screen shot of the item with the marble top, and challenged them. They said that they could not replace it (since they no longer carried it), and would not give a price adjustment. I could not send it back because every part of the box was destroyed upon delivery, and I did not have a vehicle large enough to transport it to a store (let alone lift it).
So be aware, they can change a description of an item after purchasing it, so they do not have to give you the item you paid for.
Pretty low for a "high class" store.
Their ridiculous catalogs are still sitting here wrapped.
If I shopped downtown, I would drop them off at the store.
I received the bundle this year addressed to a previous resident - we've owned the home for almost 10 years. How do I stop the delivery?
Another over-riding and obvious issue here,is that a delivery such as this can sit at a doorstep, not picked up, indicating that a resident is not home, and becomes a target for a burglar. On this basis alone, this kind of mailing,which is so irresponsible on several levels, since it cannot fit in a mail box or mail drop, should be outright illegal and subject to fines.
The company should apologize to all its customers and indicate that from now on such a mailing will be done only to those who opt in for it, not require people who have no idea it is coming to opt out. I have not shopped at RH in years and will certainly not do so ever again. I was blindsided by this absurd mailing which is actually shocking, that RH could have the mentality and the nerve to do this in such a self-serving way- screw you
if you don't like it just recycle it. Great. RH is so clueless with regard
to the issues involved here it is unbelievable.
I have found the free web service "Catalog Choice" (Web Link) to be very helpful in reducing the amount of unwanted catalogs and some other types of unwanted mail at my home.
Their junk mail-reduction service is free and the company seems very reputable. Essentially, it's a website that consolidates your requests to remove yourself from individual companies' mailing lists, so you don't have to do the dirty work of contacting them yourself and tracking the outcome - the site does it for you. I've even tried using it to get off mailing lists for certain charities that keep sending unsolicited requests, and a few requests have worked. In other cases, you can contact the company/organization yourself and track the outcome manually through the website.
The website also appears to offer an identify theft protection service which is probably not free and may require putting in more personal information - but you can use the junk mail reduction service for free, separately.
Bravo! Good move Portola Valley volunteers. I just got my NINE catalogs bundled wrapped in thick plastic and delivered by UPS Ground. The paper, the plastic, the gas in the UPS truck. What a colossal waste at every level. Who wants to waste their time opening and sorting through this package of marketing junk? If I was looking for fixtures and furnishings, then I'd search it up online.
No need to get angry or abusive. We are already living in a stressful world.
I received my RH catalogue, felt it was inappropriate, brought it back to the RH store on University Avenue, and asked to be removed from the mailing list.
The employees in the store were very nice and understanding.
When I got my Restoration Hardware catalog, I was first surprised and then I flipped through the pages and found so many great items. I maxed out my credit cards and I am declaring bankruptcy next week, but it was worth it. Thanks Restoration Hardware!
So good to read this article. I too sent them a message and asked to be removed from their mailing list until they go greener. Many of my friends did the same thing. I received a response from RH that took no responsibility for the action. Appaling marketing. I bet this will be a business case study in years to come - how to screw up your outbound marketing, customer relationships and environmental reputation with one small action....
Glad to know I wasn't the only one angered to receive a HUGE stack of catalogs when I returned from a holiday out of town on Tuesday evening. Yes, all went straight to the recycling bin and I felt it was a terrible waste of paper and money.
Following the City of Palo Alto junk mail reduction recommendation at Web Link, I called Restoration Hardware and asked to be removed from their catalog distribution list. I have done this with every catalog received in the last six months and have seen a dramatic reduction in the amount of junk mail.
Thank you so much for taking action! I promptly recycled my catalogs whilst thinking, what a colossal waste! I'd like to eliminate ALL junk mail (e.g. Val-Paks I never have time to use). Election time was particularly wasteful. I received a new ballot info sheet every day it seemed. Isn't Palo Alto meant to go zero waste by 2020? We'd better get on it!
Nice to see this. Mine went straight into the recycling. I should have brought it back to the store.
I was appalled when that brick of catalogs arrived and I immediately took them into the store and told them I thought it was obscene. I occasionally shop at Restoration Hardware and like the quality of the products I have purchased, but I have no need at all for ANY catalog and certainly not 10 lbs worth!
I received the monster plastic wrapped stack that was addressed to my son who doesn't even live here and probably never bought anything from RH. I was going to take it back and dump it in front of the store but I think the idea in the comments above is more environmentally correct and will make RH have to pay to have the catalogues returned to them. I have a friend who is studying to become an art therapist and does lots of collage work. I asked her if she wanted the magazines for collaging and she took them. She told me that she would have to get her husband to bring them into the house or rent a crane to bring them inside.
Most people in Palo Alto have access to a computer and if they needed anything from RH they could look online to see if any of their products are suited for their needs. That's what I would do.
I am appalled at the slaughter of all of the trees and all of the energy it took to make those catalogues, the oil for the plastic wrap, the fuel for the delivery trucks and the list goes on.
I hope the RH gets the message that these catalogues are unwanted and never sends them again.
I will attempt to avoid shopping there until Restoration Hardware is Restoration Green Environment.
Thank you for publicizing this, getting RH's attention, and giving info about how to stop the mailing. I too received this HUGE,environmentally irresponsible and just plain annoying catalogue delivery. Like their products, but they should fire their marketing firm.
I would love to know if the same people who are returning this stack of catalogs, do the same for the likely hundreds they receive from the various Williams-Sonoma companies (Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PB Teen, West Elm, etc) EACH MONTH? I frankly was delighted at the idea that I would only receive the catalogs once a year, as opposed to being bombarded all year long. The amount of paper used in this mailing is no where near the amount wasted all year long by these other catalogs which ship multiple variations every month. I task you to collect a year of them and stack them up against this once annual mailing. I am not the biggest Restoration Hardware fan, and find many things about the catalogs annoying, but this argument does not play fair against other retailers. Oh and the article refers to a pre-printed response that employees were handing out, that "response" was actually included in the mailing had these people actually opened the catalogs up.
Thanks for letting me know how to UNSUBSCRIBE. I wanted to return the catalogs but the package was much too heavy for me to carry beyond the recycling bin...
You guys have obviously never bought one item from Uline.
What else can we expect from a CEO who makes $66 Million a year? (Google a find for yourself.)
Bizarre and wasteful move by RH! Nice to see these comments so that other retailers reject this offensive direct mail tactic.
"I would love to know if the same people who are returning this stack of catalogs, do the same for the likely hundreds they receive from the various Williams-Sonoma companies (Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PB Teen, West Elm, etc) EACH MONTH? "
Good question, I keep canceling those and they keep coming. X2 for my husband as well.
For me, the issue (no pun intended) is not that I don't want ANY advertising, or that the once a year effort is not appreciated - it's the overkill factor. The weight of ALL these catalogs is ridiculous, and unnecessary for most customers. Imagine if you had to receive the same from every store.
RH thinks their increase in sales was related to their catalog mailings and it could be that the increase was related to the economy, new construction, new stores, customers who never even received the catalog, or just plain growth.
I think they are missing out on the market of people who like human scale, and they clearly do not get the fact that their mailing was over the top. They should use this opportunity to say that they understand those of us who do not want the paper, and who want human scale. They will find out that some people can shop and without the hype of the catalogs.
Reminds me of the days when AOL would mail a CD in a metal case to all 20,000 households in Palo Alto in one day. If you wanted to dump 20,000 CDs at the PA Dump it would cost a fortune in dump fees!
It is hysterical to read all of the wailing and gnashing of teeth by our regional " environmentalists". Funniest comment is calling the mailing "obscene", by one of our own home made environmentalists. Dd anyone bothered to read the story that these mailings have dramatically increased sales at RH??? I guess the rest of the world will have to conform to what palo,alto considers to be the right thing to do!!!
As others stated, get a life. If it is a problem toss into the recycling bin and take your name off the mailing list.
Thank you, OMV Resident, for the link to Catalogue Choice. I doubt that anyone was paying attention though, judging from the messages following yours. I started using Catalogue Choice years ago, and donate to them also, and I rarely receive a catalogue unless I've just ordered something.
It's easier than individually removing one's name from a mailing list. Do it online, all at once, and have the catalogues there, with key code and other information to facilitate.
I received their huge and bulky catalog as well....must have cost a fortune to ship. What a waste of paper, manpower, ink, gasoline, etc. I hope this place goes out of business--they are dishonest and overpriced. They ripped me off once when they first opened here in Palo Alto, and I will never go back again.
A couple of years ago I took the heavy catalogs back to the store and told them what I thought of their mailing.
Recycling wastes additional energy. Some people don't seem to know that.
Also I called the 800 number
It worked.I do not receive their ostentatious wasteful junk anymore.
Many thank-- dishonest and overpriced????? Ripped you off? Did you complain to the,? They will never grout of business they are a very popular store and I am sure palo alto enjoys their cut of the tax revenue generated by the store. Again all this hysteria is so amusing.
But I do have a friend that lives on Tennyson avenue, that shops all the time at RH. They love the store and think that value you get is excellent. So some people will hate the store and others will love it.
Funny -- when I (never a RH customer) rec'd the 12 catalogues in the heavy plastic shrink wrap, I posted them on Freecycle. Poof, they were gone from my driveway in a couple of hours. So, a few people out there like the catalogues. Meanwhile, yeah, let's hope RH wises up and stops the waste.
There is an analogy here. RH seemingly oblivious to the impacts of what they
are doing,living in their own reality,in a manic drive for more profits,
floods the neighborhood with unwanted junk, i.e. a massive pile of catalogs in an anti-environment action completely out of touch with the value systems
and sensibilities of its customers. At the same time,RH stock price has been rising and hits a record high just at the time they did this"obscene" mailing as the company reaches a frenzy in a bid to keep pushing the stock
price higher and do whatever it takes.
Sound familiar? This is our City Council flooding our streets and neighborhoods with unwanted junk, i.e. development,cars,contrary to the value systems and sensibilities of their customers, i.e. the residents, while the stock price,i.e land values and rents are at record levels
in a bid to keep the game going and do whatever it takes in terms of
exemptions, bonuses, design exceptions.
I never ever shop at Restoration Hardware now because I went there once, saw some good-looking hardware on sale, and brought what I saw home in a box from the pile underneath the display, which had the same name and number. When I opened the box, it was very clear that the quality of the fixture in the box was nowhere near as good as what they were displaying in their store. I took it back, insisted on getting my money back, and have not darkened their door since. [Portion removed.]
Anciana-- you should compare notes with many thanks. She had a bad experience also at RH. But could it have been an honest mistake? [Portion removed.]
Anyway, my husband, the economist says that RH is a great value. It is expensive, but the quality is great. Also my DIL loves shopping there and was thrilled to get the catalogues in the mail
A simple way to stop delivery of unwanted catalogs is to use this website: Web Link. It takes a couple of minutes to enter information on unwanted catalogs but you can have a big impact on the load in your mailbox and help the environment at the same time.
Off the top of my head I'd think that in SILICON VALLEY most people would have computers and know how to shop online! RH went in before I moved from P.A. Went in there only once, took a brief spin around and left, never to return. Everything seemed way over-priced so I decided that this was another new P.A. store catering to only the well-off who had historical homes or new homes pretending to be older homes. Stores like this replaced all the ones I used to patronize downtown.
Did any of these people speak up when the Measure A was on the ballot, and multiple expensive pieces of propaganda were delivered almost daily?
Speaking of the elections, has anyone seen the size of the paper ballots these days? They measure at least 18 inches by 24 inches, now taking most of the space in the ballot box. Where's the outrage about that (stupidity)?
While I sympathize with these people getting unwanted mail from businesses, if their real beef is about waste and the environment, then why only target for-profit businesses that PAY their own bills as they waste?
I called UPS to find out about their refusal/return policy for unsolicited items. ANY unsolicited package can be refused at time of delivery or returned within 5 business days. The package must be "unopened and identical" condition as received. In the case where it is not refused immediately, you can call the main UPS number (1-800-742-5877) and speak to customer service (to get past the regular automated telephone labyrinth, press 0 rather than other options). UPS will arrange to pick up the package.
NORMALLY, a refused package is shipped back to the sender at the SENDER'S expense, but I was told that, in this particular case, Restoration Hardware has a special, unusual agreement in their contract to NOT have the shipments returned to the but they will still be CHARGED for the return Also they assured me that the package will be recycled, rather than trashed. In my case, although it is beyond 5 business days since delivery, UPS has arranged to pick it up tomorrow. Perhaps they will do the same for others who call.
This way, at least RH will suffer some financial penalty for their irresponsible action.
My 93 year old mother got these and couldn't get them in the door. I thought she had ordered them by mistake but found out later that many people got them. We just put them right in the recycle bin. What a waste.
I respect the decision of some residents returning the RH material that was sent via mail. I have not opened mine and is sitting on the porch. I will enjoy a good picture or two. By any means it is not cheap to send this bulky stuff.
However,I am guilty or not guilty of receiving my Wall Street Journal and New York Times delivery to my home. I spent nearly 32 years working on the computer and I hate reading my newspapers on line.
I love the improved newspaper print colors, how I can go back and read and re-read when I want to and cut an article or picture.
So much for saving trees. It is the computers that need to be set aside after work.
Prabhakar Seelam Reddy
I received the door stopper catalogues a few months ago and also returned them. What a waste of paper, carbon footprint, etc.! The poor salesgirl said they are only sent out once a year, but that is once too many. Congratulations to all of us who are giving RH a big message to stop this irresponsible action on their part.
I opened and looked at the catalogs. They have great stuff and good ideas.
How much do you pay for a decorator? This puts it all together for you.
One thing worth pointing out also is that gloss paper saturated with ink can rarely be recycled. Even if you place it in the recycle bin, it's doubtful if it will actually be recycled. In all likelihood it goes to the landfill or the incinerator. The RH apologists would be well served to keep that in mind before they retort with, "Just recycle it."
Their explanation of reducing carbon footprint by sending once a year is ridiculous. There is no way I receive 13 lbs of catalogs from any other company. I would hate to be the manager who approved this offensive campaign.
HI, EVERYONE ~
HERE'S AN URGENT COMMENT AND CONTACT INFORMATION LEFT TODAY WITH THE ONLINE ALMANAC NEWS BY LOCAL NBC NEWS REPORTER, PEGGY BUNKER, ASKING FOR THE PUBLIC'S INPUT FOR A STORY SHE'S DOING TONIGHT ON THE 11PM NEWS REGARDING THIS MATTER:
"Posted by URGENT! NBC News Story on the catalogs, a resident of another community 1 hour ago:
Hello neighbors: I'm with NBC Bay Area news and we're doing a story on these huge catalogs for TONIGHT's 11pm newscast. We'd love to interview you today if you received the catalog or participated in yesterday's return of the catalog to the Palo Alto store. The story will air tonight on NBC Bay Area. Please give me a call on my cell if you can participate in our story regarding these catalogs (and from the forum discussion here, I can see that people have strong opinions!) My cell is: 408-726-3165. Thank you - Peggy Bunker, Anchor/Reporter, NBC Bay Area News"
Seems to. E that Restoration Hardware has a lot of disgruntled customers and ex-customers, as well as potential customers who will never materialize due to their latest tacky and stupid stunt.
Bet they won't survive much longer--how long can you continue ripping people off, after you've ripped off almost everyone in town at least once?
Smells like-- I guess that is why their stock went up over 2% today. They will be around long after the complaints from Palo Alto are a distant memory. How are they ripping people off? How have they ripped off almost everyone in Palo Alto? The complaints about RHODA ripping people,off, are crooks etc are hysterical. No proof provided whatsoever, just anonymous complaints about a company that is great financial shape and has loyal customer base. Companies make mistakes and people in Palo Alto are so self righteous that they are unforgiving.
@Anciana, I have heard from other folks the same bate and switch tactic. Fixtures, lamps, furniture, all great quality in the store, but when ordered, a second class version delivered. No joke.
I returned our unopened catalogues last week and expressed my disappointment in such a waste of resources. I purchased a full bathroom set faucet, handles, shower set, towel rails etc in polished nickel. Within a short time they were worn, spotty and discolored. I received no satisfactory response or compensation for the poor quality. Needless to say I have not made a purchase since
Mill Valley, CA artist Claire Morris is creating a "tree" sculpture out of the Restoration Hardware behemoths. People have been giving her their copies of the catalogs for over a month now. Many have commented positively on her creative response to Restoration Hardware's actions.
This mailing was 3,300 pages per recipient. Four weeks ago UPS reported delivery of 4 million of the 17-pound catalogue bundles to US addresses -- 68 Million pounds of paper - 13,200,000,000 (13.2 Billion) pieces of PEFC*-certified paper from from 18,773,334 cubic feet of wood harvested from North American forests.
Restoration Hardware reported $69,000,000 in adjusted net profit for 2013 - up 52% over 2012. Restoration Hardware's CEO has stated that he "believes that by putting enough money into Restoration Hardware's catalog, the company will triumph over every other retailer."
It's difficult to completely evaluate Restoration Hardware's official response to environmental concerns, in part because there is no acknowledgment of or explanation about the impact of the inks used in production. Despite Restoration Hardware's claim of using "PEFC-certified paper" I've found no evidence that they actually do certify paper. PEFC endorses national and regional forest certification systems, rather than actually certifying management practices of specific forests or certifying paper. Interestingly, PEFC endorsed SFI in 2005, and the American Tree Farm System, both in contrast to NRDC's position.
The world of sustainability is quite complex. Even those with the best of intentions may act in ways that have un-desired negative consequences. It becomes even murkier when certification programs and credits such as carbon offsets are brought into play.
While I don't believe this is a black and white situation, I do know that there is something terribly wrong when over 13 Billion pieces of unsolicited paper are shipped out to a population that contains those who will simply put the paper straight into recycling, or worse, will throw the paper into the garbage.
Besides the horrendous environmental aspects of this, there is another very serious issue. The catalogs were sent out in a mass mailing without notice,
indiscriminately to a list of customers and former customers who may not have shopped there for many years and become simply an address,and when left at a doorstep can attract burglars. The Police Dept has warned residents specifically to avoid this. This mailing becomes a public safety issue. The City of Palo Alto needs to ask the court for a restraining order
against RH to discontinue this practice. Where is our City Attorney? Where
is our City Council? This is a "green" issue and public safety issue wrapped together.
This mailing was so over the top, we don't want it turned into a publicity stunt and marketing tool and repeated. The Council talks about being in the forefront, here is a chance to prove it. Let this be the first step in creating a new image for the City Council, a new activist agenda to protect the environment and serve the residents and the quality of life here, and stop the downward spiral. Step up.
Another vote for Catalog Choice.
It is FREE and you can stop all the catalogs from coming to your home.
I used to have a huge stack almost daily of unwanted catalogs from nurserys to Victoria secret etc. Now my mailbox is practically empty each day!
We didn't receive them, but our neighbors did. Another vote for Catalog Choice.org. It works.
@Funny Environmentalist: are you serious? Or is this meant to be satirical .
interesting article which de-bunks RH environmental statement
I spoke with a UPS delivery man today when he dropped off a set of Restoration Hardware catalogs to my office, addressed to a person who has never worked for my company. He said that people have been refusing delivery of the catalog, or bringing it back to the UPS store, but that RH is also refusing to take them back, so UPS is forced to throw the catalogs out themselves.
I'm dropping mine (and the copy that showed up at my office) at the store.
Seems to have been the most successful bit of publicity in a long time. Don't think I had ever heard of them before, but they are being talked about everywhere and even on all the news channels. Mine came a coupe of weeks ago and were put straight into the recycling. Seems that the recycling centers don't like them either!
Not quite free publicity, but it certainly worked.
I dislike Restoration Hardware and am not a customer. when I received the huge stack of catalogs, I thought they had been directed to me rather than dumped on all of us (all of us in a certain demo?)I was then interested to learn a lot of people received this junk.
I recycled the catalogs and think this is one more reason to be a customer besides the fact I hate their style of products.
The notion that "any publicity is good publicity" is sad and this is not the way to be a good business. this is BAD PR.
One more reason to NOT be a customer....
We have an out of control government, war in Iraq, and Nuclear bomb laden Russian Bombers 50 miles off our coast. And Palo Altans are worried about a stupid catalog.
We just got home from a vacation, and this thing has been sitting on my front porch for the world to know we aren't home. And we have never bought a thing from them. Bad marketing to say the least.
So far, here in the corner of NM where I live, these catalogs have not made an appearance. From what I've been reading of this annoyance, then YAY! I'm glad they haven't made it over here. Our nearest UPS terminal/office is over 50 miles away,one-way, so to get that huge bundle of catalogs down here to us would DEFINITELY be a huge waste of money just in fuel costs alone. I'd never heard of RH before this catalog mess, and after looking them up online, I'll continue to live without their offerings. Way too pricey for items that will probably be out of style in a few short years.
Calling the number on the catalog asking to be removed from their list works.
Catalog Choice is good too, but there is a certain satisfaction in speaking to a person and telling RH to go away. Same for other catalogs.
I made a coffee table out of my catalogs, and it was free!
This would make some great kindling!
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