Uh oh! I just
used the forbidden "J" word. Within the postal industry, using the
"J" word (Junk) is like Canon employees saying they are "xeroxing"
a copy on the copy machine.
anyone in the postal industry gets offended, and before anyone
starts firing up their standard protest letter for using the "J"
word, just hear me out. I have an important point to make that can
help to save the reputation of Direct Mailers, save the Postal
Service some unnecessary overtime and processing costs, and
increase the value of the mail as a whole.
(advertising mail) comes in two varieties. The first kind looks a
lot like regular First Class or Secondary (Second Class) mail. (In
fact, some of it is First or Second Class mail.) In many ways
(paper quality, envelope size and quality, binding, etc.) it's
hard to distinguish the more prevalent Standard (Bulk) direct mail
from regular First and Second Class mailings. Many postal
customers can't even tell the difference, a fact some direct
mailers use to increase the effectiveness of their mailing
campaigns. This type of mail is generally not known to the public
as "junk" mail.
type of direct mail are the flimsy weekly circulars that contain
unbound advertisements for grocery stores, rental companies, etc.
You know the kind. They usually arrive as a mess in your mailbox.
You pull the circular out and it's already in about eleven
different pieces mixed in with your "important" mail. Sometimes
it's accompanied by a marriage mail card that certifies it to the
postal customer as "junk" mail. It's this kind of mail that is
giving direct mail a bad name and prompting calls for a
do-not-mail list modeled after the recently enacted do-not-call
type of direct mail, known to most Americans as "junk" mail, is a
bane to both many letter carriers and postal customers. For letter
carriers and the USPS, it usually means overtime payments for the
time spent grappling with the flimsy mailings. True, the Postal
Service comes out ahead by delivering such mailings, and the
Postal Service and its employees should be grateful for such
mailings. But it's the reaction of the public that is troubling.
Some postal customers greet the mailings with expletives - words
much worse than the term "junk." Some ask "how can I stop this
f*@#*ing sh*t," - I've heard such phrases many times. Many
customers throw the direct mail directly away - as in direct to
the trash can. In fact, many apartment complexes have a handy
trash can available so postal customers can do just that!
do-not-mail list would have a devastating impact on the entire
postal industry. Currently, direct mail is on the increase, while
First Class mail continues a steady decline. Direct mail is what
is keeping the Postal Service afloat! A do-not-mail list would
dramatically decrease direct mail volume which in turn would
initiate price increases for all other types of mail. Moreover,
direct mailer and Postal Service revenues would decline, while
both would see increased costs in enforcing the do-not-mail list.
direct mailers find themselves connotated with telemarketers,
there is an easy, simple solution - don't make your direct mail
look like junk! Most direct mail is not even recognized by postal
customers as such. It's time to clean up the rest of the mail.
In my city
there are a couple of weekly mailings that are known to most
customers as "junk" mail. They are printed on cheap, flimsy,
unaddressed and unbound paper. But there are also a couple of
direct mailings that have the same basic advertisements, but are
printed on decent-quality, bound paper. It's much easier for
letter carriers to deliver, it arrives in the mailbox in better
shape, it's better received by the postal customer, and they hold
the potential for the Postal Service to reap savings by reducing
overtime costs and making such mailings compatible with current
and future automation initiatives. Direct mailers, likewise, by
increasing the quality of their physical mailings, could save
their reputations and their livelihoods while at the same time
increasing the value of their products.