Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ugly circulars, be gone! The magic of micro-activism

One of the larger of the small-time annoyances associated with living in a lovely neighborhood with block after block of gorgeous limestones, brownstones, and free-standing one families is the infuriating collection of advertising circulars that are deposited on people's front stoops several times a week. These circulars are: a) ugly b) wasteful c) redundant (with a sign on every block announcing that the entire neighborhood is zoned for one family houses only you'd think someone would have figured out that there's no need for three or four dropoffs per residence).

They're also now d) illegal -- at least if you decide to do something about them. In March, city councilman Simcha Felder proposed a bill that would make it unlawful to distribute "any unsolicited printed materials" at residences that post notices saying they don't want them. Last month, the bill was passed without much fanfare; now, companies/restaurants/etc that violate the new law can be fined anywhere from $250 to $1,000.

In a neighborhood like PLG, posting written notices isn't always feasible...which doesn't mean you can't get rid of all that unwanted paper waste. Each circular has a phone number listed on it (the ones that come in the white plastic bags have the number printed on the bags themselves; the Newsday distributed ones list a customer service number). If you call that number and tell them you no longer want to receive their bundled advertisements, they won't deliver them to you anymore.

Really. I should know -- it's been three weeks since I've come home to find a packet of these things stuck into my gate. So take five minutes, make a few calls, and save yourself a whole heap of mess...and do a small bit towards lessening the city's paper waste.


Karlette said...

The flyers are a nuisance and have been the reason I have been ticketed by sanitation (when I neglected to remove them from bottom of my garbage can before putting the garbage bag in the can for collection - UGH!)

I am willing to accept:
A) the general annoyance-I never use them, they are advertising products I do not buy and obviously not many other people are buying either, or they would not be pushing them!

B) That they are a fact of this homeowner's life in the big city

C) I will have to sort them for collection or face the possible penalty

HOWEVER, I AM NOT WILLING TO ACCEPT THE LIABILITY FOR THE STUPIDITY OF OTHERS. They can leave that damned things – just not on my stairs!!! That is a real hazard and liability to homeowners. I nearly slipped on my steps one a.m. because they had been left (plastic bag of course) on my stairs and I did not see it on the lower steps as I left the building. When you are entering a building that is no problem. But if they are distributed on the stairs and people exit the building, depending on the circumstances, there is a great chance that you will not see them. Whose fault is that! Never mind it does not matter; because it is the owner who's insurance company will be paying!

Jeremy said...

As it is November and the last two weeks of september and all of october passed without a single post, I have come to accept that this "blog" is dead.
Too bad, because it was informative and useful...