JUNK MAILERS TAKE HIT IN SAN FRANCISCO
The “whiners” are back in the form of the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Mail Moves America coalition. They were “disappointed” by a San Francisco resolution attempting to create a Do-Not-Mail program. It’s not even binding, but it does reflect the 89 percent of the American public in support of a national registry similar to the FTC’s Do-Not-Call, according to Zogby research. SF Supervisor, Ross Mirkarimi, introduced the legislation last fall, and it was passed the end of March by a 9 to 2 vote of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
The PostalNews Blog said: “City Calls On California To Give Citizens Choice Over Junk Mail.” ForestEthics entered the fray again with Todd Paglia, FE Executive Director, saying, “Until now, junk mailers have stifled all efforts to give Americans what they want: an enforceable, comprehensive solution to junk mail’s waste and annoyance.” I did a couple of posts (here and here) on environmental issues in connection with junk mail, and the DMA’s constant whining over the Do-Not-Mail issue. More than 93,000 consumers have signed the ForestEthics petition for the creation of a Do-Not-Mail registry. You can sign up here.
Mirkarimi is a crusader for similar issues like when he passed the nation’s first municipal ban on the use of plastic bags. We have likely not seen the last of the Supervisor in the case of turning the Do-Not-Mail resolution into law. In support of his actions, the PostalNews Blog reports that 100 million trees a year are cut down to produce the 100 billion pieces of junk mail. Not surprisingly—after all, we do call it junk mail—44 percent ends up in landfills across the country.
Junk mail industry publication, Direct, weighs in on the whole thing with the usual bias toward junk mailers. Two points that need addressing are the article’s claim that a Do-Not-Mail resolution would do damage to the workforce, and that junk mail offers prices that are cheaper than traditional retail.
First, a statement made by Ben Cooper, Executive Director of Mail Moves America, in his claim that, “…we believe it is important that city, state and local governments not support legislation that would hurt the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers.” How about the 9.9 million victims of ID fraud in 2008, costing them personally and collectively almost $10 billion. A Javelin Strategy & Research 2009 survey says that 33 percent of the respondents reported that junk mail credit card solicitations resulted in fraudulently opened accounts in 2008. On average it took each individual 30 hours to resolve the issue, some of which, no doubt, taken from work hours.
Next, at the end of the Direct piece, something from “The Lobbyist’s Take,” a statement is made suggesting that there are “…bargains available only to through-the-mail shoppers.” which would be lost with a Do-Not-Mail law. My wife is an avid seeker of bargains—even before the latest downturn of the economy turning a majority of Americans toward that lifestyle—and she finds repeatedly that junk mail is not the answer for the best price, particularly considering shipping costs that often are unreasonable when you look at the price of the item being purchased.
But you be the judge. If you want junk mail, just say nothing. If you don’t want it sign up at DoNotMail.org. Also let President Obama and your congressional representatives know. Contact the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives.