Some places just aren’t made for outdoor living


As I picked up the mail the other day, I was greeted by a small pile of catalogs. Each one was addressed to me “or current resident”, indicating that the mailings were at least partially based on zipcode. And with summer just around the corner, each catalog prominently featured the store’s outdoor furniture line.

However, this geographic targeting makes little sense to me. My zipcode is probably 99% apartments and condos. Only a subset of those have a balcony, and most of the balconies are too small for anything more than a tiny table and a couple of chairs. Plus, the harsh winters mean that even if you do buy outdoor furniture to cram into your tiny balcony, you’ll have to drag it inside for at least one of the seasons.

Taken together, these factors mean that my area is likely a poor target for outdoor furniture. In fact, I would guess that the higher the population density of a particular zipcode, the less likely the residents are to be interested in those products. Sure, there will be exceptions, and if someone has bought outdoor furniture from you before, they’re probably worth including on your mailing list. But for the rest of us living in high-density zipcodes, it makes more sense to skip the mass mailings for products that we’ll probably never buy.