No leaflets please

I couldn’t help noticing as I was dropping leaflets off in my neighbourhood the other day, the number of signs on the doors I delivered to, which I swear has increased in recent months, which included words like “no leaflets” and variants on the theme of “no junk mail”. Since the purpose of my leaflet was to explain stuff about the local residents association, and details of our next meeting, set up to benefit said households among other things, I was left in a quandary of “do I or don’t I”, for the truth is other than personally canvassing each home there was no way these folk would know what my association (or rather their association) was up to. But then it does occur that in an earlier age the same people night have put up “no hawkers and canvassers” signs, so one is stomped as it were.

I can’t help thinking we live in an age that we are bombarded with stuff we don’t want and what we do want is to be left alone. For me, the issue of leaflets is easy. I can find out within a matter of seconds if it is of any interest and if it isn’t, and it usually isn’t, it then goes straight into the bin – qed. The matter of unsolicited phone calls is something else. I can understand why people do this and there are occasions, very few as it happens, when the unsolicited call leads to something fruitful but usually it doesn’t and the trick is to stop the call as soon as possible without sounding too rude. I have a trick, although it has been known to backfire, and that is to put down the phone within 3 seconds if the person at the other end doesn’t answer, because in most cases it is an unsolicited call. Even so, in my grumpiness, I do feel my personal space has been invaded and I have been needlessly disturbed, but then such is life.

As one of my all time favourite songs goes “Times they are a changing” and one of the changes is we discover we are dealing less and less with people where we can meaningfully engage but rather systems when everything is done fairly anonymously, which is one reason I suspect we are seeing more leaflets being dropped and more unsolicited telephone calls. Reluctantly, I find myself having to go with the flow as it were. I suspect the next generation will take all this in their stride and find their own coping mechanisms and as for us dinosaurs, we are on our way out. But I did get one unsolicited call the other day that lead to a meaningful and in the end pleasant conversation. The nice lady at the end of the line asked me why I was no longer receiving my local daily newspaper. My response was they had upped the price but not improved the content but more significantly the nice lady who collected the money each week (and thereby looked out for some of the lonely old dears who also received their newspaper delivery) was no longer doing so and it was yet another item part of one’s life to be controlled by direct debit. But she persuaded (bribed) me to be reinstated under the new regime, and yesterday while I was waiting for the wife in our car, I caught up with the past five days of community news.

Ah well, as the oft cited prayer goes: “God grant me the serenity, to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” The afore-mentioned stuff I have ranted on about, and I am sure I can add to the list without too much effort, comes under the serenity category. If you are a local resident with a no leaflet sign in your door, please don’t grumble if I drop my leaflet in your door (and if you do I ain’t all that interested), and might I respectfully suggest you get off your butt and get involved in making a difference to your community.

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