Owning your mailbox

In the USA, the US Postal Service (USPS) has juristiction over your mailbox. Or in other words, nobody but the USPS can place items in your mailbox and because all junk mail is paid for and delivered by the USPS, you cannot refuse to have it placed in your mailbox. Moving to the USA from a country where the industry self regulated itself to avoid annoying customers, this is incredibly infuriating.

A summary of the current state of who allows what can be found here: Current national and international arrangements (from NSW, Australia.) Denmark seems to be leading the way, but will we ever see anything like that in the USA or elsewhere?

A more in depth summary of the problem in the USA can be found at http://www.ecofuture.org/jmusps.html. Two out of three reasons for allowing the USPS to deliver junk mail involve money. Clearly if the USPS needs this type of business to stay alive then there is a serious problem with the business model being used for the USPS as other countries do not seem to have this problem.

One very real problem with the current arrangement in the USA, with respect to bulk mailings, is that the company printing the material receives no feedback with respect to how much of their material goes straight into the rubbish bin and thus they're unable to match the amount of material they print to the amount that actually gets consumed, resulting in lots of waste. But large quantities of anything and everything, accompanied with waste, defines the USA, doesn't it?

Comments:

Very interesting post. I'm wondering though, is it a problem with USPS's business model, or is it just a way to get more money to compensate for government funding cuts? I don't see why, even if one has a successful business model, one would not desire extra revenue. It's not like people will remove their mailboxes because they receive so much junk mail.

You're right, large quantities of everything does define the US.

Posted by d on January 06, 2008 at 03:06 AM PST #

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