17 lbs.

As I came up the driveway after work yesterday I noticed a package on my doorstep.  I felt a tickle of joy, because who doesn’t love getting presents in the mail (even when you ordered them yourself online and forgot that you did so- thanks self!).  As I walked up to the door I squinted my eyes. That couldn’t be….could it? All of that? Really?

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Yep, that’s a giant bundle of Restoration Hardware catalogs.

I bent down to pick it up and almost fell over from the shock of the SEVENTEEN pound weight. Shrink wrapped and delivered via UPS (the package guiltily emblazoned with “carbon neutral shipping!” on it), this stack of bricks clamored down onto my dining table as I stood there in awe. What a truly obscene thing this is! I couldn’t even believe it- I had to open it to make sure that the whole neighborhood’s catalogs didn’t accidentally all get dropped on my stoop. Nope- just 11 catalogs all for me . Then I thought, maybe these are just delivered to members of the trade/ designer program? One quick check of Instagram proved that wrong too. And supported my own quickly developing feelings- people are PISSED about this.

Now I love Restoration Hardware’s products, and I order from them all the time for my clients. In my experience they have provided well-made, clean lined upholstered goods, bedding and accent pieces that are priced much better than a lot of designer brands I use.  And I will continue to order from them- but not without standing up against this offensive waste of trees.  I love getting a catalog as much as the next girl, there is something nice about flipping real pages and looking at items in an editorial manner that the internet just doesn’t provide. However, when I do all my ordering it is online. Restoration has a good website that is easy to order from, and I guarantee that most of their orders are placed that way.  And for those people who don’t have the internet and need to order over the phone, I doubt they are spending $1,299 on a Deconstructed 19th Century Replica Slope Arm Dining Chair.

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(11 books in total- and yet THE INTERNET)

So that leaves us wondering who are these for? I don’t have time to flip through 8 billion pages of catalogs of items I can find quickly online and neither do any of you. And I wouldn’t keep these “Source Books” in my office to use as a designer because they aren’t even helpful- there aren’t any dimensions listed on anything anyway! So I have to wonder, why would the big, smart business people running this company think this is a good use of a massive amount of money? It has to cost at least $10 to deliver each 17 lb. package and printing these things isn’t cheap either.  Doing some quick math (with the disclaimer that I got a C in Fundamentals of Pre-Calculus) they are likely spending millions on these things only to enrage their own consumers!   To me this whole thing seems like a backwards PR nightmare!  And there is a hint of that issue within the very package of these “books”- a slip of paper heralding their “commitment to the environment” and lauding the recycled paper they use to print these, the carbon neutral delivery system and the fact that they are only send them once a year. So basically, they are saving the environment, right?!

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(I clearly ripped this in a fit of environmental rage. Or just struggling to open the shrink wrap….)

I lumbered my stack of catalogs right to the recycling bin without looking at them (I spent an hour on their site at work already), as many of you probably did too. And it made me feel gross to be tossing out what felt like six trees. So I looked on the back and found out that you can opt out of receiving these.  Call Restoration at 1-800- 762-1005 with your address and cancel your “subscription”. I plan on doing it this morning, and I hope you do too.  It’s the only real way to send a message to the company that this isn’t what you want from them. If they really want to spend that kind of money per consumer, I personally would rather get a gift card for $20 along with a single, slim catalog of new collection highlights.  As much as I love Italian Banded Sateen Bedding (and I do, I really, really do) I love trees and oxygen more.

91 Responses to “17 lbs.”

  1. Maggie says:

    Omg, preach! I did exactly the same, straight to the recycling! Fr the past two years their catalogs have gotten more and more obscene in size and now this. Not to mention, what used to be a lovely, classic store has turned into a gaudy and fame-obsessed CEO’s personal taste. No thanks.

  2. Stella says:

    Yes!

  3. Carolyn says:

    I was shocked when it arrived on my front door too and just called to cancel future catalog deliveries. Thanks for taking the time to write about this, as it has a huge impact on our environment.

  4. So glad to see you are writing about this! It’s disgusting. I wonder if they expected a public backlash. I’m marking return to sender!

    http://www.alexiskletjian.com

  5. M says:

    I haven’t received these yet (hoping I somehow fell off the list), but I have been so annoyed by these catalogs in the past. To boot, I do like some of RH’s stuff, the catalogs are a major snoozefest! Gray and brown overload, industrial/Belgian style, gigantic floor lamps, blah blah blah.

  6. Alex says:

    Can’t imagine whoever signed off on this initiative isn’t going to be cut loose soon…..

  7. Jen says:

    Amen! I live in a condo and our mailboxes are the small, po-box-size boxes. I get so mad when I find RH catalogs crammed in there about once a month! Somebody needs to create a “do not mail” list for catalogs so you can quickly “unsubscribe” from all junk like that. As you say, even if it’s a company I like, I’m really not interested in catalogs, and they go straight into the recycle bin.

  8. karen says:

    I could not agree more! Crazy waste of trees and money. It’s going to cost them a fortune to renovate their stores once the driftwood craze passes…or has it already? I miss the old RH!

  9. Adriane says:

    Amen sister! Thanks for taking a stand.

  10. Helen says:

    They sent one to each designer in our office plus ppl who havnt worked here in years. It’s pretty terrible, we immediately called and had names removed even though there was something like it could take a few cycles to be phased out. We might keep one in our sample library but let’s be honest well rarely look at, hashtag internet.

  11. Angela says:

    Amen!

    Jen – you can visit catalogchoice.org and opt out of magazines. The organization will email the
    Company on your behalf to remove you from the mailing list. It is great!

  12. Anne says:

    You know, I was appalled too when I found my stack on my porch last week. But knowing that they only deliver catalogs once a year does change my perspective on it somewhat – I wonder how much the Ballard Designs/C&B/West Elm/Lands End/J. Crew catalogs add up to in a year – I get new catalogs from those companies CONSTANTLY, and it’s not because they are filled who all new products every time. I bet it’s worse, but they don’t get the same backlash bc they are spread out over time. So I think this is really a larger issue with catalogs in general – doesn’t make this monstrosity any better, but it’s worth considering that this kind of bad behavior is practiced far and wide, not just by RH.

  13. Thanks for the number – I am definitely opting out! I could not believe it when I received that mountain of catalogs…I was one of those people who put a picture of my stack on instagram. I just couldn’t get over it! Of course my husband now thinks that I must be spending too much because how could they possibly send all those catalogs to people who are not good customers! I have ordered from them before but not enough to be on that kind of mailing list!!! Luckily, our recycling program takes magazines and catalogs!
    Thanks! – Shelley

  14. Amy says:

    Thanks for this. I too, use them for client purchases occasionally and agree that their quality is good, but somehow, this mountain of catalogs pissed me off. In fact, they all piss me off. I am glad I read this. I am going to call and opt out of all of my others TODAY. Overkill, indeed.

  15. Angelique says:

    Thank you for posting this today. I too was incensed. I thought of driving my 17 pounds of paper to the Restoration Hardware store in Boston but decided that would not be carbon neutral and that I should instead promptly put them into the recycling bin. I will call them today.

  16. mary says:

    couldn’t agree more…. think Gary Friedman a little full of himself. With this and all the humongous moments to Restoration Hardware being built..i.e. Boston and Greenwich, think they better watch their bottom line or sell a lot of furniture!!!

  17. Susan says:

    Yes, I love Restoration but everything I’ve bought from them has been through a store. I’m not sure how I got on this list, but I’m not buying deconstructed furniture anytime soon! I do love the baby catalog though. . .

  18. amc says:

    I’m not sure I agree. First, I want to remind you that just a few days ago you wrote about how much you enjoy relaxing with a few magazines, such as In Style. I think RH is trying to become more of a shelter/design magazine than a catalogue. Perhaps they even consider these coffee table books. Who knows that the marketers had in mind, but they certainly had a plan.

    Also, I think Anne’s comment above is valid. Although it seems crazy for RH to send one large package. One annual delivery still pales in comparison to the number of coupons and JCrew catalogues received everyday.

  19. Nancy says:

    Like you, I have bought a lot from RS over the years, but in the last few they have lost their way. There is almost nothing to buy and take home from their stores. Returns are painful and burdensome. And mailing out these catalogues without opt-in shows they clearly don’t understand what their customers want. Like you, mine went directly into the trash. What a waste!

  20. Erin Gates says:

    AMC/ Anne- I see your point- there are a lot of catalogs that come too many times and it’s easy to call and opt out of those too or go to the site that is provided above to do so. I’m going to for sure- this catalog incident sparked a realization in me across the board for sure!
    However, I don’t think these compare to magazines though- magazines have editorial content you cannot get on their website, unlike the RH catalog which has everything online for free. You pay to receive magazines out of choice (and can get them on your iPad too instead of paper to be really green).

  21. Elizabeth says:

    Did you see this from Apartment Therapy a few days ago?
    http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/why-the-huge-catalog-and-how-restoration-hardware-is-becoming-the-ikea-of-luxury-furnishings-203731

    Gary Friedman is such a douche.

  22. Nicole says:

    Thank you for posting this, I plan on calling and canceling my subscription as well, this is outrageous. Yes, I love flipping through a magazine, but RH catalogs have pushed it too far.

  23. Anna Post says:

    Well said! Beyond all the waste of resources (still a waste, even if offset) and the surprising lack of dimensions, sending 11 catalogs at once also smacks of hubris in a way that the Restoration Hardware brand can’t live up to. “We are so vaunted and revered that we present you, special customer, with this fine, 17 lb. collection of the sum total of everything we are, because we know it will make you feel honored and your will drool over every page.” Um, maybe a brand like Chanel could get away with sending something like this to a total of five people on the planet, one them Anna Wintour. Bids for brand grandeur are a gamble, and this one lost big time.

  24. Erin Gates says:

    Anna- SO spot on!!!!

  25. I couldn’t agree more! I saw mine on my porch and am so annoyed by it that it’s been sitting there for 2 days now. Ugh. What a waste!

  26. ADRIENNE says:

    We were just talking about this! Our UPS guy dropped off not one but TWO bundles to our 3 person office yesterday. We couldn’t believe it! And the worst.. he said he has about 40 more in the truck left to deliver. It makes me feel so dirty even looking at it. I can’t even…

  27. Nicely said, Erin! I’m calling today to cancel.

  28. Maura says:

    Cancelling today – thanks for the info! I refused the package with the doorman. No way I’m hauling that thing into my apartment only to bring it back downstairs in another week. Such a huge waste.

  29. Heather P. says:

    Wow – that’s more catalog than I’ve ever seen come out of one company! I would understand if this were for professional designers…but like you said, it’s clearly not if they don’t put basic information like dimensions in there!

    What a waste, and I’m glad you’re sticking up for your beliefs on this one and canceling your subscription!

  30. Jen says:

    LOVE It!!! I called the day these came in the mail. When you call, tell them you want it noted that you do not want to be put back on the mailing list if you place an online order!!!

  31. If these are source books, as Gary Friedman claims, then produce them and distribute them appropriately — as source books for designers that will hold up overtime.

  32. carosail says:

    I’m cancelling my subscription right now!

  33. Anon says:

    I used to be a Buyer at Resto. This is Gary Friedman’s doing, the CEO. He is a narcissist weirdo and this is another one of his attempts at getting people’s attention. That’s really all it’s about because, like you mentioned, they aren’t even real source books without dims, etc. There are so many more stories I could share about him that would make y’all not want to shop there ever again…but I won’t!

  34. Lauren says:

    Amen. I called them last year to cancel my “subscription” after being sent a massive package of catalogs. So infuriating!

  35. Christy says:

    I didn’t get mine yesterday because I CANCELED the last time they sent it. So, I’m glad to know that they do take the “unsubscribe” calls seriously. Thanks for posting! I do hope RH will learn that most people search online.

  36. Erica says:

    I was going to post the Apartment Therapy interview too, until I saw that someone else already did. It explains the playboy CEO’s thinking — and the comments here and there make it clear that people are universally opposed to the catalogs (sorry, “source books”) and the direction the company is headed. I for one hate hate HATE that you can’t buy anything in the stores anymore. They don’t have anything in stock, most stuff is not available for viewing, and a lot of stuff takes months to receive. I have had to wait 2-4 months for each of the light fixtures I ordered from there, and then I was a little disappointed in them when I got them.

    For those who prefer to opt out of the catalogs via email vs. phone, here’s the link. Keep in mind that if you place another order, they’ll put you back on the list.
    https://www.restorationhardware.com/customer-service/catalog-cancellation.jsp

  37. Alexandra says:

    Thanks to the commenter who suggested catalogchoice.org! I just made quite a few requests to be removed from subscription lists. Obviously RH is out of control, but I definitely agree with the point that PB, C&B, JCrew, etc. are equally as ridiculous with the number and frequency of catalogs they send. These companies need to get with the times ASAP.

  38. lydia says:

    I agree with the many concerns about the RH catalogue (canceled mine last year!). I can’t help but point out the massive amount of random junk mail (think coupons, credit card offers, the list goes on) that people receive every day that amounts to a few RH catalogues a week. This is way more of a waste and worth also taking the time to opt out of. There are countless website that will do this for you (catalogchoice.org is one of many) and even iPhone apps (Paper Karma). Going through my mail used to result in a huge pile of recycling, now it’s mostly wanted which is much nicer. Saves time, paper and resources.

  39. Esq Mo says:

    I don’t find this appalling and I disagree that we all should cancel. If you don’t want to receive them then don’t. Some of us are not “universally opposed” to catalogs. Perhaps a single delivery is overkill but one delivery for all the catalogs is more environmentally friendly than multiple deliveries over time.

  40. Judy says:

    I almost threw my back out lifting the bundle!
    The gross waste is simply bad for so many reasons, and the marketing of “green” is blatantly twisted!
    RH’s integrity has dropped significantly

  41. Elissa says:

    Love your website! Where did you get those planters by your front door? LOVE!

  42. Mary says:

    I had the same exact reaction as you did, Erin. I thought I had mistakenly received the catologues for my whole street! Anyway, I was too disgusted to even bend down and pick them up. They’re still on my doorstep as some kind of silent protest.

    Wasteful, not fun to look at, way too pallid and redundant and pretentious. I can’t believe this company is not going out of business.

  43. Restoration is ridiculous… there are 3 of us that work in my office and we get THREE of these complete sets every time restoration puts out a now catalog. Its insane. We don’t need such an epic set of catalogs when we use the internet to quickly look up everything we need 99% of the time.

  44. Mackenzie says:

    I know, it is absolutely ridiculous. When I worked in a design office with 4 designers and a principal, they sent us 5 of these monstrosities. FIVE. It was stupid. Like we couldn’t share them or something? Someone over there needs to get a grip.

  45. Karena says:

    I have moved and so hopefully they do not have my new address, the last time was enough, I mean guess where the cost is passed on to!
    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

  46. It truly is appalling and negligent on their part. Thanks for taking a stand, spreading the word and preaching a great point!
    Every little bit helps and this is why I also committed and devoted my entire interior design business to eco-friendly design- its so important to conserve mother nature especially now.
    Thanks again for the great post!

  47. Justine says:

    THANK YOU for posting this. I’ve had to call numerous catalogues to stop receiving them, it’s insanity, thanks for addressing….

  48. Ali says:

    Amen, sister! Great post.

  49. Rebecca says:

    I got this package as well and was totally horrified by the lack of social responsibility and respect for the environment. They lost a customer for life with a single mailing.