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Today's Rant: Wasteful Newspaper Mailers...or...I Thought "Newsprint Costs" Were Driving Newspapers Out of Business?

Back in the middle portion of the last decade, when a lot of newspapers were going out of business, they often cited "newsprint costs" as one reason they couldn't survive or weren't profitable. They claimed it simply cost too much to print the paper and they couldn't afford it, yada-yada-yada.

Well, that doesn't seem to stop local businesses in Indianapolis from sending me enough newspaper mailers every day--EVERY DAY--to choke a wild hog. Every day (okay, four times a week) I come home and find a three-inch thick stack of newspaper mailers clogging my mailbox. Mostly they are grocery store coupons, sometimes they're coupons to local businesses, and what have you. Not only have I never, EVER used one of the coupons, but I've asked my postal workers to stop giving them to me, and they still leave them at my door.

FURTHERMORE, the damned things are so big and unwieldy that sometimes my actual mail gets lost inside them and I end up being late on my bills or whatever. I know what you're thinking: "That's not the reason you're late on your bills, brother." Okay, maybe I'm out of line blaming it on the newspaper mailer industry. But still...

Aren't we in some kind of a "Reduce, Re-use, Re-cycle" kind of culture, here? What about the "cost of newsprint" and all that? What about the utter wastefulness of mailing out tons and tons mail coupons per year when there are ways--much better ways--to get them to consumers who want to VOLUNTARILY take them? How about E-mail? What's wrong with that? Or how about stop printing the goddam things, and take the money you saved and pass it onto the people who are actually buying your goddam products!!

Meanwhile, we cut down more trees and build more buildings. The world gets hotter in the Summer and colder in the Winter. We have more floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc., and we make jokes about the looming Apocalypse when we could actually be doing something about it, and trying to make the world a better, smarter, more environmentally conscious place.

The only way we're going to fix this world and restore our planet to some sense of balance and sustainability is by small, incremental steps. That's the only way anything of value gets accomplished in this world, anyway. Small, persistent, incremental steps, like dropping grains of sand onto a scale until it finally tips. And frankly, it's things like these newspaper mailers that are the things we need to start cutting.

Here endeth the rant.


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