Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Wait A Minute Mister Postman

Does cancelling junk mail endanger your postman's job? I've heard it claimed that revenue from direct marketing pays the postman's wages, so we should all put up with a few items of junk mail or risk losing the postal service.

I don't agree. The marketers don't pay the postal service because they want everyone in the country to see their ads. They pay because they know that a few people will buy their products after seeing the ads. It's worth the money because of the increased sales. But most people don't buy the products, they just put the leaflets straight in the recycling. The marketers would love to know who are the people who will go on to buy the product and who just puts them in the recycling. They could save a fortune on printing the leaflets (and CD-ROMs, half-empty biros etc.) and still make just as many sales.

If you never buy products or services from direct marketing, you are doing the marketers a favour by cancelling, because it saves them money on which they get no return. And you are doing your postie a favour, stopping him trudging up and down your path even when you have no real mail. And you're doing the planet a favour by saving the resources needed to make, print, and drive around the country all that weight of unwanted mail.

Convinced? Read Reduce Junk Mail which has all the links to stop junk mail (and telesales calls) coming to your house. And don't forget to vote in the poll in the right-hand sidebar when you've done it.


Vashti said...

*warning: going off on one ahead*

We live in the same neck of the woods as the postman who was sacked for telling the people on his round how to stop getting junk mail. The Royal Mail's response was "if we do not deliver this mail then rival companies will. ... Royal Mail's future depends on competing effectively in all parts of the market and that includes unaddressed mail, a service which is used by a great many firms and people, whose businesses depend on it."

Well, I'm afraid I don't care about any of that. I detest commercial advertising - it's professional manipulation, usually underhand, often targetted at children. It's entirely powered by greed. As far as I'm concerned, it's diametrically opposed to environmentalism, simple living, pretty much everything that I think matters - and that needs to matter more and more to everyone.

When it comes to junk mail, it's intrusive and annoying - I can't tell you how many times I heard my letterbox bang only to find that it was a stack of leaflets that went straight in the recycle bin! I don't read it. I don't need it. I don't want it.

I'm afraid I file "if we don't profit off sending you advertising, someone else will do it/we'll go bust" in the same place as "doctors don't agree on the risks of tobacco" and "scientists don't agree on the causes of climate change".

And ultimately, my letterbox belongs to me and is an entrance to my home. I decide what I want in it - not the Royal Mail or anyone else.

Melanie Rimmer said...

I quite agree Vashti. I got a piece of junk mail from a charity. On the envelope in big letters it said something like "WARNING: If you have brown eyes you are more likely to die young!" My son read it and got very upset because he has brown eyes (and a tendency to take things literally).

Hedgewizard said...

Mel, how are you picking carrots, beetroot and kohl rabi - have I missed a trick under cover?

Hedgewizard said...

Oh yeah, that brown eyes thing would have upset Connor too. Bastards!

Bill of Ballaugh said...

What stupid idiots sent the junk mail about brown eyes? Send me their name and address and I promise you they will get a right stinking response. Frightening my grandson like that. Not while I'm around they don't.

Anonymous said...

A lot of women work in mailing houses stuffing envelopes, its a crap job for crap money - they do it for their famlies.If people did opt out then the company would need less workers and they would be out of a job .It does annoy me sometimes the amount of crap thats pushed through my letterbox but then i think its keeping someone employed and it goes straight in the recycling..

Yellow said...

Howener,anon, I think junk mail is very unethical from an environmental stance (waste of paper, printing & all the energy that is wasted on that and distribution). The fact that it's creating jobs for people in my mind is not an argument to continue it. Jobs were created by other unethical practices which have since been abolished. Wouldn't it be great if those 'mum' were instead employed by a waste sorting & recycling company. Still on a basic wage, yet a positive step for the environment.

Anonymous said...

Companies are getting good at using recyled paper these days, granted, they could to a lot more but joe public could do more,we dont recyle as much as we should and what is recyled quite a high % sent abroad. I dont see being bombarded with gumph unethical, children working in the recycling depots in china is!
we need to address the balance theres two sides to a coin and a lot of women work form home stuffing envelopes to make ends meet i dont think they would like a shed load of crap on their door step to seive through:)
one thing that is a bug bear of mine is those plastic sleeves broachers are sent in. Now they are the root to all evil!

Vashti said...

One evil doesn't justify another, and every destructive industry wears (or tries to wear, in the more egregious cases) a smiling human face. Lots and lots and lots of unethical practices are keeping people in jobs. That is not an argument to keep doing them, nor should we think that because people are getting paid for doing them they shouldn't be abolished. People work stuffing envelopes, in advertising, in coal-fired and nuclear power stations, building roads and 4x4s, in McDonalds, the list goes on and on. Even drug dealers and pimps need to eat, but somehow I see you being less understanding of their need for a job, Anon.

No, waste shouldn't be shipped abroad for sorting, and this should be stopped - but the solution is to do our best to eliminate waste in our own lives.

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