I reckon anyone who is delivering leaflets through peoples’ doors will often come across signs like “No Junk Mail” prominently displayed on doors, maybe many such. Having done this recently for our local hustings, I can speak from personal experience. The question we then face, notwithstanding our eagerness to get our message out, is do we or do we not put through such doors?
For a number of years, I was involved with the local residents association and it seemed to me that delivering leaflets was the best way to let residents know a meeting was taking place and it would be worth their while if they attended. I felt quite justified doing this as I regarded it as part of my community service and felt people should welcome it. Sadly, only a few ever did come to our meetings but at least we tried to engage for the right reasons. I took the view then (and still do) that what I was posting was definitely not junk mail. If there were signs like “no leaflets” or “no unaddressed mail”, it was then the case that I would not post, otherwise I would. It never happened but if often occurred to me that if an angry resident were to complain, I would equally angrily remonstrate that I what I was doing for their benefit, followed by some unrepeatable expletive.
While I understand there is a lot of stuff put through our doors these days that is unwanted, I also believe that this is the best and most effective way of disseminating information and since this issue has risen when many of my political friends have been posting leaflets through doors concerning next week’s local elections, I can well sympathise when they are confronted with such signs. I feel frustration that somehow democracy is being undermined as a result of those who won’t receive leaflets not knowing what is on offer and so can vote intelligently. Mind you, there is a lighter side, needed if one is not to give up in despair. Some of the wording we see is funny, like: “sweet lady and gumpy man lives here” but the one that warrants my top prize is: “if our dog doesn’t like you, it is unlikely that we will”.
In the general scheme of things, I don’t mind if people do post stuff through my door that is unsolicited. In 90% of cases it goes straight into the bin anyway and in the remaining 10% I find out about something useful and beneficial – overall a win situation, other than the thought of so much paper waste and energy expended on fruitless errands. Where I take a less charitable view is people cold calling at my door, trying to sell or interest me in something. In most cases I am not interested and feel my time has been wasted, especially if my train of thought reading or writing something profound at the other end of the house is disrupted. The same goes with telephone calls and the ritual that has to be followed in order to politely tell the person at the other end I am not interested.
Thinking about it, “No Junk Mail” signs are yet another by-product of the age we live in. I have a little sympathy for those who leaflet to promote a product or service, since their livelihood is at stake, providing they don’t abuse the privilege. I have more sympathy for those who are trying to serve their community for no financial gain, who resort to leafleting, and feel such people should be encouraged.