Saturday, 19 November 2011

No unauthorised mail please.

The "no junk mail" sticker on my letterbox went missing a couple of months ago.  I had wondered whether it would really make a difference, as the endless catalogues and advertising flyers are usually dumped in a pile on top of the letterboxes for my apartment block, rather than distributed to individual letterboxes.  Sometimes a rubber band keeps them in the bundle so they can dissolve in a soggy mass while remaining in a manageable pile.  Usually there is no rubber band and the slightest breeze leafs through and blows the pages all over the neighbourhood.

Occasionally smaller leaflets would make their way past the no junk mail sticker into my letterbox.  The usual culprits were real estate agents begging me to list my (rented) apartment with them; local restaurants trying to entice with a copy of their takeaway menu; carpet cleaning offers; business "opportunities" and glossy newsletters from local politicians.  I don't understand why businesses would think you would be likely to use their services when they've ignored your request about junk mail.  On occasion I've also found advertising from Scientology and shocking anti abortion propaganda - you can read about that here.

Without the sticker as a deterrent, the junk mail being delivered to me is now out of control.  Every time I remove the contents of my letterbox, I make a mental note that I must get another sticker.  I didn't know where to get one.  I think the last one was found, ironically, on a table of promotional material for an environmental organisation at an event I attended.  "No junk mail" sticker never made it onto the shopping list, so I just didn't think about it.

Today I was at the post office and on the counter where I was being served was a display of stickers.  I had a choice between the traditional "no junk mail" or "no unauthorised mail".  They were $2 each and a useful impulse buy.  The woman who served me told me that they had been selling like hotcakes today.  Is it the pre Christmas advertising rush that has people buried in a pile of cheap colour printing or the fact that suddenly the stickers are easily available and in a place that jogs the memory?

I lashed out and bought the traditional sticker and will apply it tomorrow, or whenever it stops raining. I thought that the request for no unauthorised mail left too much room for doubt.  I wasn't even totally sure what it meant.

I'd love there to be a penalty for advertisers who ignore the sticker, but it would probably just mean that the distributors would dump their excess elsewhere to become litter.

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