Thursday, March 20, 2008

Our Standards are Junk

That's how we make a living:
Chris Pearson, a state legislator in Vermont, had a sense the people were with him when he proposed a bill in November to allow residents to block junk mail.

He got media attention, interview requests and e-mails from constituents eager to stop the credit-card offers, furniture catalogs and store fliers that clog their mailboxes.

Then came the pushback from postmasters, who told Pearson and other lawmakers that "standard" mail, the post office name for junk mail, has become the lifeblood of the U.S. Postal Service and that jobs depend on it.

Pearson's bill remains in a committee and has not been scheduled for a vote.

Barred by law from lobbying, the Postal Service is trying to make its case before a growing number of state legislatures weighing bills to create Do Not Mail registries similar to the popular National Do Not Call Registry.

The agency printed 3,000 "information packets" about the economic value of standard mail and sent postmasters to testify before legislative committees around the country.

....The Postal Service is working with the Direct Marketing Association, which represents retailers and the printing industry, in its new campaign designed to quash Do Not Mail initiatives.

....Perhaps surprisingly, many environmental groups are cool to the idea of a registry that prohibits marketers from sending mail to those enrolled and that fines violators. One reason may be that most environmental groups use standard [junk] mail for their solicitation.

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