From One Liberal to Another, Shame on You: 10 Flaws in the Latest Do-Not-Mail Initiative
Sure, you remember that episode, right? Kramer then gets interrogated by the Postmaster General (portrayed deadpan by Wilford Brimley) for his refusal to accept his mail. Pure theater of the absurd.
If there were ever any life lessons one could take away from “Seinfeld,” it was just how silly people’s actions could be. And this episode played up what a joke it is for consumers to kvetch about having to go through all that effort to throw out mail they don’t want.
Flaw 4: Apples to Oranges
The absurdity of that “Seinfeld” episode also brings to light ForestEthics’ flawed approach to this initiative: to use the creation of the Do-Not-Call Registry as a model. It’s one thing to receive unnecessary and annoying phone calls during dinner time. It’s another to receive unwanted catalogs in your mailbox.
Companies that rely on telemarketing can find other ways to sell their wares. Catalogers that rely on mailed books can only partly rely on the Internet or their stores (if they operate any) to keep business thriving. And if killing off the catalog forces them to open more stores ... Well, let’s not get into the fact that consumers drive about 3.3 billion miles a year back and forth to stores, using all that gasoline and giving off all those fumes.
I found Rep. Pearson’s response to this even more absurd, particularly for an elected official whose state is home to numerous thriving catalog companies. “The way we interact with advertising typically empowers the consumer,” he said. “We can turn the car radio down and flip over the newspaper. But with mail, we’re forced to pick up the tab for disposal, to say nothing for advertising costs and landfill costs. There’s a big distinction between the different modes of advertising to support this project.”