As large daily newspapers continue to gasp for life like oversized carp thrashing in ever-shrinking pools of muddy water, an interesting phenomenon has occurred:
Free weekly publications appear to be thriving across the US.
These “newspapers” are usually little more than a whole mess of advertising wrapped around a handful of inane drivel – often about the advertisers themselves – which is passed off as news.
Unfortunately, the modus operandi of these publications is to carpet bomb as many homes as possible with papers in order to boost circulation numbers.
The higher the circulation, the more publications can charge for advertising. As a result, the companies behind these papers tend to deliver to anything that looks even remotely like a home: run-down trailers, dog houses, tool sheds, etc.
Of course, what is undisclosed is how many or, more accurately, how few people actually read the publication. Also undisclosed is the anger that tends to build up when those that receive the unsolicited publications are unable to end delivery.
Often, repeated calls to the companies behind such publications have no effect, as papers continue arriving, sometimes two or three a day in major cities.
At least one individual in the Chicago area grew so tired of the free papers that he filed a lawsuit.
Mike Jaskula, a resident of the Humboldt Park suburb and an attorney, filed suit last month against the Tribune Co. on behalf of 24 neighborhood residents alleging the company’s published process for stopping delivery didn’t work.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the suit was settled quickly, according to Chicago’s WBBM-TV.
Unfortunately, most people don’t have the time or resources to go to court to stop the delivery of these nuisance publications.
These papers can be more than just an irritation, too.
A major problem is that they can pile up quickly at abandoned properties or properties where the residents are on vacation, offering criminals or troublemakers an indication of easy pickings.
After years of repeatedly kicking such publications unopened to the garbage can and then tossing them into oblivion, I am now inclined to start identifying advertisers and purposely avoiding them.
I may even let them know that their ad dollars are actually working against them.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott it’s not, but if it reduces the amount of completely unnecessary frustration in someone’s lives by just a bit, it’s worth it.