I don't know if you've read the news, but the United States Postal Service is hurting. A lot. Like, "we can't stay open without emergency Congressional intervention" hurting. As more and more people go digital to replace letters and packages with emails and file sharing and teleconferences, the USPS is having a hell of a time digging itself out of a $9 billion deficit while its competitors like UPS and FedEx streamline their costs (and in some cases save on expenses like union salaries and benefits) and continue to carve ever-widening slices from the Post Office's pie.
It's enough to make you want to consider closing Post Offices for four days out of the week since more and more mail is nonessential and the essential stuff (government assistance, bills, pharmaceuticals) could be required to arrive on specific dates and make everyone's lives easier. But this is no time for logic! Which is why the Post Office is very happy to announce their plan to spam the ever-lovin' hell out of you with Every Door Direct!
Because everyone should know this joy.
Think about it: you're a business looking to break into a neighborhood and establish a footprint. You could buy a mailing list, but they're expensive and not always reliable, since the more tech-savvy among us are getting better at keeping themselves off marketing lists. No, you want to be able to carpet bomb the entire zip code, hitting every single person with a mailbox. Congratulations! The USPS will happily sell out their customers, even those who have taken time to put themselves on stuff like the Do Not Mail List.
See, there are a lot of lists offering to stop junk mail forever, but they're mostly run by marketing firms; the same people who send you that junk. I'm not doubting their motives; I assume it's in their best interest to stop bugging people who are already hostile towards their ads, but if a company doesn't belong to that particular organization of marketers or decides they don't want to abide by the rule, there's nothing stopping them from hitting up the Post Office and burying you in an avalanche of carpet cleaning ads or fliers for teeth whitening.
Is this fair? I mean, this is a government office basically selling your information and access to marketers to make a buck. I won't pretend to have a better option to save the Postal Service, but this solution really isn't my first choice.
What do you think about the Postal Service making it easier for you to get junk mail? Do you even send letters any more? Are we headed towards a life without post offices? Let us know in the comments!
Flickr photo Junk Mail Mess by Michael Coghlan used under a Creative Commons License.