Going Postal

Earlier this week, I read the tale of the postal worker who has been fired* for dumping mail. The man in question claimed he had disposed of marketing material, namely flyers and circular letters soliciting charity. He did this in order to shorten his working day so that he could care for his elderly mother.

Firstly, I can sympathise with the fact that this lady needed assistance. We know that they state couldn’t care less about the old or sick. Unless you can afford serious private insurance, you are pretty screwed if you are unable to function independently. However, this man was employed by the state, and had his duty to do. He may well argue that he remit is not distributing marketing material. And I agree with him on that. However, in dumping this material, he also inadvertently (benefit of the doubt given) jettisoned two actual letters pertaining to medical appointments. Neither party missed their appointment, but that could well have been another elderly parent waiting for months or years to see a consultant, or to have a procedure.

But anyway, my issue it not with the disgruntled** postman. The amount of rubbish pushed through our letterboxes on a daily basis is sickening. And it truly is rubbish, it all ends up being thrown away. Don’t we create enough waste as it is? I know many of us place a ‘No Junk Mail’ sign on our letterboxes, and in my experience these work – for flyers at least. However, letters ‘addressed’ to the resident or the occupier still get shoved through. I take particular umbrage to the latter, as I have never forcibly displaced anybody from their home or land in order to live there myself, so I am not an occupier.

I did approach my local post office a few years ago, asking if they could stop delivering post not explicitly addressed to a named person at my address. From the incredulous look I got, I might as well have asked them to send it to the Moon instead. I also, when I lived in Galway, went to the offices of both of the free local newspapers and asked them to stop delivering to my address. In fairness, they did. They obviously keep a list of addresses where the resident has requested to not receive their paper. The person working in the Galway Advertiser office was quite irked I must admit. I told them that I didn’t want to receive their paper, and that there was a ‘No Junk Mail’ sign on my letterbox. She suggested that the paper wasn’t junk mail, and so I pointed out the very name of the publication. She was none too pleased. But that’s what it is. A bunch of flyers disguised as a newspaper.

I did also point out to both papers that I, and everybody else, have to pay for the disposal of the papers, so it’s unfair of us to have to bear the cost, when we didn’t want the paper in the first place. This applies to flyers and other junk mail too of course. I’m sure many people do dump them into street bins, so they are not even recycled. Even if they are, what is much better than using up energy and water on recycling, is to not create the waste in the first place. Besides, we suffer enough from ads, even if some of the targeted ones are way off the mark. We don’t need yet another channel of marketing invading our privacy.

In the end, I don’t agree with the postman’s solution of dumping the waste, but do agree with him that we don’t need this a plethora of unnecessary tripe piling up in our homes.


*or should I say the postman who got the sack?
**disgruntled – what an excellent word. I don’t use it enough. And not for lack of opportunity. I need to incorporate this into my lexicon and make use of it more frequently.

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