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Postal service relaxes rules for 'junk mail'

Posted January 19, 2011

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— For most people, a trip to the mailbox means sorting out the important mail from the flyers, coupons and circulars that marketers send to get their message out. Junk mail, direct mail, call it what you will – most people don't look forward to receiving it.

A new U.S. Postal Service rule could mean more junk in the mailbox.

Flyers addressed to "Postal Customer" or "Current Occupant" are an example of simplified addressing, which allows delivery to every home, business or P.O. box on a postal route. It used to be available only on rural routes, but new rules now allow it on city routes.

John Nicholson, of Raleigh, said he has enlisted on direct mail opt-out lists, but still gets mail from marketers.

"I'm not sure why I get it," he said. "I think it's a bad idea. I've enlisted on a lot of do-not-mail lists, which I thought would take care of this."

But Adam Tartaglia of LimeLight Marketing, the Triangle's self-proclaimed "direct mail experts," said opting out only goes so far.

Tartaglia manages direct-mail campaigns for businesses. He said opting out deletes names and addresses from a targeted database, but simplified addressing goes to everybody.

junk mail Postal service relaxes rules for 'junk mail'

Postal customers have to contact marketers directly to not receive simplified addressing mail, but Tartaglia said the mail is not junk.

"I hate to use that term. I believe direct mail brings products and services that people need," he said.

The relaxed rules apply only to larger pieces of bulk mail. Letter-sized items will still need a specific address. Tartaglia said he believes mail that goes to everybody is not as effective for marketers as targeted direct-mail campaigns.

But for Nicholson, both types of mail are unwanted.

"I get enough as it is, bills and so forth, but junk mail? I don't need it," he said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Sherlock Jan 20, 2011

    You can get coupons off the internet as well as the news in the area.

  • John Sawtooth Jan 20, 2011

    I want LESS paper mail not more. If I want a coupon, I will go get it myself. Generating trash and delivering it to me is an enormous waste of resourses, multiplied by millions of Americans who also throw the unwanted carp away.

    I recycle devotedly - I also have enough to do without other parties generating un-needed recycling waste. Even if it's recycled, it's STILL wasteful.

  • simplysmurfy Jan 20, 2011

    I personally enjoy all the coupons that are mailed to mailed to me from various businesses, and love the local "magazine" that comes out that's filled with coupons from local businesses. I mean it's places that you already go to, with discounts. It personally annoys me to see people get their mail and immediately throw it away. My neighborhood even keeps a trashcan out just for that.


  • sadickers Jan 20, 2011

    Everyone should do as others on here say just put it back in the Post Office's mail drop as refused. Maybe then the PO will get the message and stop giving the cheap postage to those sending out this junk. As for Tartaglia hmm maybe a better idea would be to find out his home address and forward all the junk to him.

  • ohmygosh Jan 20, 2011

    The post office is loosing money especially from the reduction first class mailings.

    First class mail subsidizes junk mail. So the right business decision is to increase the amount of junk mail they deliver?

    What are they thinking?

  • Sherlock Jan 20, 2011

    Do like I do I save all the junk mail, tel when the pile is big I take it back to the local mail drop box and mail it back to sender as refused mail.

  • bonsai827deadbeat Jan 20, 2011

    junk mail at my house is simply mailed back to the sender in they're prepaid envelope's....all cut up course

  • bjohnson1888 Jan 19, 2011

    I'm not necessarily a "fan" of direct mail, but all you people posting your super-negative reviews are not seeing the bigger picture: One of the reasons our economy here in the Triangle is doing so much better than most other US cities is because of the success of our small businesses. Without direct mail, hundreds of local companies would not have an efficient and effective way of reaching out to their community to offer their services. Also, many new businesses would not have a way to announce their grand openings, or let people know that they now exist. This would in turn result in less profitable businesses, less local jobs, and less stimulation of our economy. Is that what you want? I think it's safe to say that we can all deal with spending an extra 10 seconds a day throwing away a few extra letters in our mailbox to make sure that the core of our local economy has a means of maintaining it's health and vitality.

  • joshharris73 Jan 19, 2011

    "Tartaglia manages direct-mail campaigns for businesses. He said opting out deletes names and addresses from a targeted database, but simplified addressing goes to everybody.

    ...but Tartaglia said the mail is not junk."

    It isn't junk? I would disagree. I did not ask to have a ton of mailers about getting new mortgages or buying new cars or any number of other schemes aimed at getting me to spend money on things I don't need sent to my door.

    More importantly, once it's in my mailbox, I have to deal with it. Mr. Tartaglia isn't going to handle my recycling and garbage disposal. Mr. Tartaglia isn't going to reimburse me for my time sorting through unsolicited mail to find my bills or items that are not junk and need to be opened. Mr. Tartaglia isn't going to be responsible if I miss the one bill in 15 items of junk mail that I receive each day.

    For him it's all good. For us it's bothersome, annoying, a pain, frustrating, and maddening. It has to stop.

  • snowl Jan 19, 2011

    I keep a plastic bag next to my city recycle bucket in the garage. I pick out the mail that I want and immediately toss the junk mail in the bag every day. Then on pick up day it all goes away with the paper recycle stuff. Simple...