An error in listing

ListingerrorMailing lists. Call-in lists. These are a bane in the lives of both staff members and public. Once you get onto a mailing list it is almost impossible to get off. It is probably one of the clearest demonstrations of the organisational “held down 7’s” in the Scientology structure.

It is also a symptom of the policy-without-judgement culture that exists. Policy stipulates that the size of the org mailing list is the best indicator of the health of the organisation. This results in a refusal to remove names, or at least make it very difficult.

In understaffed orgs (pretty much all of them), new lists are printed for each call-in event. Those lists are worked on by numerous staff (all-hands) who write copious notes of people wanting to be removed, numbers changed or no longer in existence and even people who died years ago (in one case, lists were printed with names of people that had been dead for more than a decade).

The Div6 bookbuyer lists in particular are a total nightmare as although there are thousands of names, only a tiny fraction of people are contactable or even willing to speak to someone inviting them to an event that should strictly speaking be for seasoned Scientologists only.

The problem is that once the call in for that particular event is finished, these lists with all the notes and changes are thrown in a drawer somewhere and then eventually trashed – the corrections never actually make it onto the “Parishioner Call-In-System” which the Church spent huge sums of money designing and developing. The system installed in Joburg Org has never worked properly, and no staff member may use the system unless fully hatted. At one point in 2012, there were only 3 staff members who knew how to get into the system and print lists. Since Joburg Org opened in 2003, it has only ever had one fully trained and hatted CF Officer on post – he lasted less than 6 months.

And because the org simply does not have the resources (staff or time) for someone to sit for hours correcting lists, the lists stay the same – year in and year out. And so, come the next event, the same old lists are printed with the same mistakes and errors – and on it goes. The wasted money in calls to wrong numbers is astronomical. On average, once the “core” group of Scientologists has been contacted, one is lucky if 2 or 3 names can be contacted on a list of 60 names. Imagine what this means in terms of wasted phone call costs.

Every day orgs around the world receive calls from irate people demanding to be removed from a list. On occasion people have actually walked into Joburg Org with physical threats if they ever get another call from the org, and the poor call-inners get screamed at, sworn at and thoroughly abused by the person who by now has had enough.

Even if the org does remove their name it’s not that simple. Higher orgs ask for the lists of lower orgs, the central mailing unit located in Los Angeles demands lists from everyone. The result of all this is that a public will receive mail from multiple orgs and very often from the same orgs with varied spelling of names.

And of course, every member of a family gets the same mailing, so one household can get up to 9 copies of the same promo. The result is mountains of printed and useless mail which is either returned to the org or thrown away. In July 2013, there were 10 crates of returned mail sitting in Joburg’s CF office – just dumped there collecting dust because there was no-one on post to handle them. Some of the returned mail had originated from overseas lists and had been addressed to “The High Commissioner – Johannesburg, South Africa” or “The Captain, Cape Town” and other similar undeliverable addresses. These envelopes contained very expensive press-packs, glossy magazines and info DVD’s being sent to VIP’s around South Africa. When the DSA was shown this, she shrugged her shoulders apathetically and walked out of CF. That’s another held down 7 – the sheer volume of printed mail.

The same thinking has moved to email lists. Unsubscribe all you want, you just can’t get off. And if you happen to have more than one email address (work and home for example) you will guaranteed be getting 2 of everything. Not only this, but each “section” or activity will send out the same email about an event, so one is likely to get the same email from WISE, SMI, ABLE, OT Committee, and every other org that has your name.

In 2012 it was discovered that the Joburg email promo was even being sent to the org’s creditors, so Nedbank, Stationers and any other company that had ever supplied the org with anything was also receiving the org’s promo!

The best way to get off lists of course is to be declared.  During the purge of late 2013 there was clearly an effort to clean up the lists of undesireables and the mail, both printed and electronic stopped. Names were removed and instructions were sent to various Scientology-affiliated groups demanding that names be removed.

However the compulsion to have large mailing lists will resist even these efforts. We re now seeing that declared and other black-listed people are finding their way back onto lists and are again receiving mail.

It is only a matter of time before the new erroneous lists revert back to the old lists and the cycle starts again. Or there will be a recovery drive to get back old and lost people and the orgs will be getting a new round of angry phone calls from people who were angry and irritated years ago.


28 thoughts on “An error in listing

  1. This is so hilarious to me. I am declared and boy oh boy was I off this list fast but my 5 year old son still gets IAS mail! But the really funny one was I got called by an unsuspecting call-in person from St Louis for the ABLE event. When I told him I didn’t think it was a good idea he asked why, so I said because I was declared SP, he almost dropped the phone! I chuckled. I am very scary!

  2. LFBD! Now that’s definitely one of my items. I’ve helped with call-in over the years from various hats and those lists are a shambles. I don’t think I’ll ever get off them permanently. In the past I have tried to correct addresses and names but to no avail I am always on a list. Such is the life of anyone who’s ever had the misfortune of darting their eyes at a bookseller never to be let go until a sale has been made. Reminds me of the hawkers at the intersection.

  3. What a waste of paper, time and expense. How many people actually read the things? After you’ve read them once, you don’t again. But they keep on coming, jamming up the letterbox and jamming up the waste paper basket. Eventually, I’d turf them out at the post office and not bring them home at all.
    Imagine how much staff pay and conditions could be improved with the money spent on stuff that goes straight to the municipal garbage dump. There’s something criminal about it.
    And has it brought in volumes of new or existing public? No, of course not.
    The only way to get out of receiving mailed promo is to change one’s postal address. I’ve had three postal addresses in the past two and a half decades. This wasn’t intentional: I’d moved. I quickly cottoned on to not giving out any new postal address!
    I haven’t received a single promo piece in my post box for over a decade!
    In the early days of being a new Scientologist, I’d keep the magazines and books. It felt like sacrilege to thow them away. Then one day, I just did. I was amazed at how easy it was! I threw out the whole bunch and was rewarded with space and light relief!
    Oh, what a feeling. It’s like dancing on the ceiling!

  4. Fantastic article. The horrendous part of it of course is the sheer waste of money that could go towards staff pay instead of being (literally) thrown in the dustbin. I think one of the heaviest “charge” items for any staff member doing call-in are the words “phone allo”.

    Very shortly before I was burned at the stake, I was in comm with the CLO trying yet again to handle the voluminous amount of mail and email I was getting. More than 40 emails A DAY and I am not kidding when I say up to 20 pieces of the SAME printed promo for me, my family, my children, my mom and our company employees – all addressed to either my home, Post, Box or business premises. I was recycling at least 4 to 5kg’s of SCN mail in the Ronnie bag every week.

    If I had just ONCE taken a non-SCN staff member to a WISE seminar or other event, this poor person landed up on the mailing and phone lists. Our bookkeeper – who had never put her foot in the org but dealt with the org for payment of invoices etc, was phoned for every event and once even heavily regged for her IAS lifetime membership – and Bert (remember him) got pretty snarky with her too – I had to intervene.

    How is the Church setting a good example with this? Way to Happiness Precept 17 (Be Competent) – this would include having correct mailing lists and cutting down on the cost and Dev-T of multiple phone calls to useless contact numbers. Precept 12 (Safeguard and improve your environment) – which specifically mentions cutting down too many forests – how much paper is RCS wasting with multiple copies of promo being sent to the same household or to addresses that are wrong and/or no longer valid?.

    And then, suddenly, around January or so, shhhhh………………. it all stopped. Bliss. With the exception of the odd SO recruit postcard addressed to my 4 year-old grandson, and a few emails which I have now directed to go straight into my Junk Mail folder.

    I guess being declared is a good thing for the environment 🙂

    • Hey Shelley, Talk about dispersed staff? These remnants of what used to be probably cheerful, enthusiastic, helpers, have been soooo totally overwhelmed with the insane DM modus operandi, to turn everyone into robotic slaves, are now unfortunately, just that!!
      Did I mention the unmentionable, to you? Shhhh. The VFP of prolonged contact with the Demon without some sort of prophylactic protection ? — Insanity!

  5. Having come to a point in 2010 where I was receiving a minimum of four items of promo every week and being intensely embarrassed every time I’d meet the postman (was afraid he had me down as a weirdo), I proceeded to hand write 3 expletive-ridden letters. The letters were sent to Saint hill UK, Copenhagen and Flag. Wording to the effect of “stop sending me your fucking shit, as upon receipt it is tossed into the fucking fire” etc. This not only took me off of their mailing lists, but also got me Deadfiled at the orgs to which I’d sent the letters and at my local mission in Ireland. The reason stated was that “he wrote entheta to Sea Org members”

    • John McGhee – got a slap on the knee for writing ugly letters to me…… I feel a limerick coming on. 🙂 My mom got deadfiled because she was living on my premises – as did all the other 19 entities they were sending post to at my address 🙂 I think I should charge them all for the favour!

    • Love it John. I too had a shitload full almost every day and had to explain to the post man. What I did was send them by email or snail mail to Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker and he’d print some for his Sunday Funnies. Well they eventually got wind after going public and they stopped ALL.
      I like your method and it worked. Good on ya!

  6. Whenever I receive Sea Org recruitment promo and questionaires, I eagerly fill them in and return. I tell them that I still takes LSD and am a practicing homosexual so the prospect of “bunking down” with a dozen or so men in sailor uniforms will definitely be my next great adventure!
    My advice. When they phone you, waste their time. Waste their money.Keep them interested in phoning you back.
    They are fair game.
    Sending a 5 year old Sea Org recruitment promo is just sick.

  7. I have my Ronnie recycling bag right next to my post box to minimise dev-t. My load also dropped enormously once I was dead-filed, but plenty still comes as I’ve had various scios stay on my premises over the years. I still get emails from various random sites and clearly some staff members have set up their own system as I get most emails from private email addresses, but for RCS purposes. Actually the scarcity makes me more interested, and today I actually read many of the emails which I never did when the volume was there. However, written promo goes straight to Ronnie.

  8. I did call in for selling Basics for awhile and was shocked how the staff (I was volunteer) used these files. They would have CF files that were years and years old and people that have never come into the Org and these people were called over and over. We would also do call in for events and I tried to get some organization going into the call in lists. It was impossible. Staff had “special people” on their own cell phones, there were duplicate lists so some people would be called dozens of times for the same event. This made the staff look very unprofessional. I wondered “how can this group have the greatest admin tech in the world if they can’t even organize their own call-in lists without pissing off their customer base?”
    I was very happy once I got declared because most of the mail stopped. Every time I got another piece from some Scientology group or even the big glossy mags from Author Services I would write a note on it telling them about dm hitting his staff or Debbie Cook testifying in court and return to sender and then those mailings would also stop.

  9. It has been such a pleasure this year so far. Not much mail nor phone call until 2 weeks back. Got a call from Los Angeles. Looking for the OES FDN. Remember I left this hat 6 years back. When I told thid guy he has a wrong number as I was declared an sp, he almost dropped the phone on me. Shame.

  10. Oh my god! This is a charge point for so many! I have never been to AOLA or CC int or Denmark or Sydney Org. But I get their email and promo and invites to graduation on Friday night at CC Int. I must urgently take my next bridge step at some AO. This is an Epic Fail on so many levels it’s not funny. It is a good indicator of the ineffectiveness of administration tech. It’s a break in the ARC triangle and the KRC triangle. It is a violation of the comm formula (no receipt point and no attention) the intention is purely to make your quota so you can go home or go to bed. It violates most finance policy, there being no beans for beans, and it violates the way to happiness a few times over. I do not know of a single non-Scientology organisation which does this shit. If for no reason other than getting off of the mailing lists, I am glad to be declared.

  11. Fantastic Article.
    Most of us when we are first introduced to Scientology

    I have experienced numerous promo pieces with different spellings
    of my name and shortened versions of my name so I was under
    three different NAMES!
    S000 that means I would get 3 copies of the same promo From IAS,
    The mind boggles!

    It’s Horrendous the amount of wastage spent on paper, postage and phone

    What happened to the hundreds of hours spent in the Org correcting
    mailing lists, spelling mistakes, who actually lived at the address.
    Getting correct phone numbers – this was what was needed to get
    the Org to Sainthill size and Updated functioning Central Files!

    Like Shelly I would be inundated with E-mails and it would take me a good
    hour to delete and if I went away for the weekend that would become a nightmare
    to have to wade through all the different comm from once again FLAG, the Freewinds,
    IAS and SAINTHILL plus Joburg Org, Celebrity Centre, New Era in Los Angeles and
    Copenhagen, Narconon, Criminon, Way to Happiness, Friends of Scotland, CCHR

    THEN wait for it -the PHONE Calls!
    Yes I have confirmed 10 times already!
    What a waste of time and money.
    I actually used to switch off my Answering Machine!

    Then the time I had spent and money informing certain members
    of my family no-longer lived with me.
    I would return to sender and write to the various terminals they
    no longer lived here but now lived overseas
    The duplication level was really bad.
    AND I would get calls asking to speak to them YET I have told
    numerous terminals they no longer live with me!


  12. Two ways to get them to stop. Return every piece of mail that has a return envelope with a picture from Lisa McPherson’s autopsy. It’s amazing how quickly the mail dries up. Every time someone calls you, be sure to let them know you’ll be happy to donate to Mark Bunker, Mike Rinder, et al. and thanks for calling to remind you, now you’re back to surfing the internet. You have no idea how fast they can blacklist you. It stopped those calls and mail cold for me when 6 months of yelling, cursing, and unbelievable return to f****ing stalker written on envelopes didn’t do a thing. I stopped being mean and started being nice, but I said very cheerfully I was donating to “the enemy”. It worked.

    • Awesome video Karen. Thanks for all you are doing to continue exposing the insanity of RCS and the lunatic measures they will go to in order to discredit and harass whistle-blowers.

      It is ironic that they kick you out, label you as a social deviant and yet wont let you go. The amount of wasted energy being spent trying to shut people up (a losing battle by the way) could be better spent doing what they’re supposed to be doing – making auditors and getting people up the bridge.

      And of course, if they knocked off all the BS and criminal behaviour, they wouldn’t have anyone badgering them in the first place!

    • Vinaire – RCS stands for Radical Corporate Scientology. Not sure when the phrase was first coined, but it’s pretty much well known amongst those out of the Church.

  13. The BEST thing about getting declared was getting off the mailing lists. From time to time I get a letter from some random org and I use that occasion to write back using the pre-paid envelope and write about the availability of real LRH materials, unaltered by DM, on the Internet. The person who reads it probably has be sec checked for “pulling the entheta in” but one of these days, someone might LOOK!

  14. The only way I new I was declared was when my wife, son and I stopped getting mail and all phone calls to us stopped. Bliss. The other day I did get an email, I replied asked if it is now ok for staff to communicate with SP’s or should I write a knowledge report regarding this comm.

  15. Literally the last time I heard from them was when I said I was studying to be a Muslim Imam. Used to have calls every other day, sometimes 2x on the day. Now, nothing. I miss them. I would like to continue to mess with their heads.

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