What I Don't Miss
Three Things without Mentioning Politics
Last week I answered a question from a reader on what I missed since moving from the States. Today I will share three things I absolutely don’t miss.
For as long as I can remember, I have paid all our bills online. I also turned on electronic statements, bills, etc. So other than birthday and holiday cards, the only thing in our mailbox was junk mail. Our mid-century modern home in the California desert deserved a mid-century inspired mailbox. It didn’t hold that much…but what it held was all junk mail. I don’t miss junk mail. I don’t miss unjamming it from the small slot in the box and walking it directly to the recycling bin. It seemed such a waste!
When we moved to Portugal we established a virtual mail address…a box at one of those private mail places that actually offer a street address. We didn’t want to burden our Florida friends sorting through forwarded mail … most of which we didn’t want or need. As I am writing this post, I just realized it has been weeks since I checked our online “mailbox”. I just did…5 pieces of mail I don’t need. I suspect I will probably save myself $9.99 a month by terminating our contract soon.
Our experience in Portugal may not be typical. But so far, we have had four pieces of mail delivered: our apostilled US driving records for when we go to get our licenses, a flyer showing the approved (Cascais) municipal capital expenditures for 2021, a document confirming that our water bill will be sent electronically and a form with instructions to complete the 2021 Census online. (I wonder if I am supposed to do that.) Anyway, no grocery store flyers, nor realtor postcards…I don’t miss junk mail.
Robocalls and Telemarketers
I also have not gotten any telemarketing calls. I hated them! When I left work and got a personal cell phone number I had the misfortune to receive the phone number of a woman that had serious financial problems. I received dozens and dozens of calls from collection agencies. From their calls and messages, I pieced together she had some very serious health issues and was deeply in debt…a uniquely American problem. It took a good 6 months to convince the collectors that I wasn’t her, I wasn’t related to her, I didn’t know her or her forwarding number/address. Just when I got accustomed to not getting their calls, her debt was sold to another collection agency. And the calls began anew. As a debt file is sold to subsequent collection agencies for pennies on the dollar, the collectors (in my experience) become more aggressive. I thought seriously of buying a whistle and blowing it directly into the phone.
Anyway, since moving to Portugal I have not answered the phone to hear silence for a few seconds before a chipper girl named April starts into her pitch. Robocalls from political hacks or April…which is worse? Not sure, but I don’t miss either.
Finally, and most emphatically, I don’t miss commercials from drug companies! What a mistake the US made (again, my opinion) when they caved to big pharma and allowed drug companies to advertise on TV. My favorite is the beautiful, mature couple laying in two separate clawfoot tubs, holding hands while the many potential side effects of some erectile dysfunction drug are being spewed at 160 words per minute. Newsflash: one of you will have to get into the other tub for “this to work”.
Since arriving in Portugal, the closest thing we have seen to a drug company ad is a commercial for Sensodyne. A caring, dentist/actress sits next to her dental chair and explains the benefits of her product if you have sensitive teeth or gums. I can deal with that. But I don’t miss drug company ads.
If you have left the US, what don’t you miss. Let me know in the comment section below.