I like getting mail – real mail, the kind with my name lovingly written in a familiar hand with a sticker on the back holding the flap down even though it has that special glue. One of my favorite little moments of the day is checking our mailbox, jiggling the key back and forth until it relents and lets me open our tiny metal door. The possibility of getting mail, even a postcard, is exciting.
But more often than not, all that tumbles out are circulars with fruits and vegetables printed on newspaper, proclaiming the grocery store’s LOW, LOW PRICES. They don’t even have coupons to clip, just advertisements listing the products for sale.
Two things bother me about these fliers:
- They waste paper. Each one uses at least two sheets of newspaper, and I see the other tenants’ copies tossed carelessly in the laundry room trash (because who wants to carry it all the way across the parking lot or back to one’s apartment to recycle it?). No one is even opening them, much less reading or using them, so why waste the materials?
- There is no way to stop them coming. On unwanted email advertisements, I can hit “unsubscribe.” On magazines, I can cancel my account or simply wait until it runs out. But these aren’t even addressed to me – they’re sent in bulk to “Resident” at each apartment number, and probably in every other apartment complex in town. I don’t know how to stop them, except to write some strongly worded letter to the Grocery Store Powers That Be to explain that all they’re doing is wasting paper and no one (or at least no one at this address) wants their unsolicited circulars anymore. But what good would that do? They’d probably forget to take us off the list, and they wouldn’t stop printing them. At best I wouldn’t have to feel guilty for only recycling my own copy anymore.
Something I ponder frequently on my way from the laundry room to the recycling bin.
I am forming a mental picture of the Grocery Store Powers That Be that looks a lot like a gathering of the Olympian Gods on Mr. Olympus. White robes, sandals, pieces of kale stuck in their teeth, robes stained with food stains.