In the past, I had limited my online purchases to smallish items, ordered from Amazon or one or two other retailers who did not share their mailing lists with anybody. Consequently, I seldom received any catalogs from other merchants pushing their stuff.
However, when I moved into this place three months ago, I needed a lot of furniture and housewares in a short period of time, and the internet (with its home delivery) seemed to be the way to go. I ordered stuff from three different companies (Pottery Barn, Target, and Home Decorators Collection; the last two were through Amazon.com's affiliate program) as well as a living room set through furniture.com, with whom I had dealt before without incident. Somebody sold my address to the catalog pimps, because I have been bombarded with catalogs ever since that time. At first, it wasn't too bad; a couple of catalogs a week, with stuff that was vaguely interesting to me. However, today I received no fewer than seven catalogs, including two that I can never see myself ordering from; they were country and Victorian styles, and my designaestheticis noteitherstyle. (Those links are the stuff that is my style.)
Why don't the wizards who sell my information do a better job of screening it? It's bad enough that they shared it with ANYONE, but at least limit it to stuff I might actually buy. C'mon, flowered curtains and lace doilies? Toile and black walnut? Urgh.