Junk mail has been in the news lately.

For those of you who don’t follow the minutiae of the UK news situation – perhaps believing that things like the war in Afghanistan, or the Gaza Strip, are higher priority – let me summarise: A postman was caught advising his “customers” how to avoid a particular type of junk mail: As a result he’s been suspended on full pay while the Royal Mail (or whatever they’re called this week) decide what to do. His advice doesn’t cover the kind of junk mail which is targetted by advertisers at particular addresses, it was just relevant to a scheme called “Door to Door”, where an advertiser sends a mailshot to every house in an area regardless of the suitability of the mail to that household. The scheme is operated – surprise surprise – by Royal Mail.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with advertising mail: It arrives, it goes through the shredder, it goes in the recycling bin. It takes a minute or two out of my day, but it doesn’t take anywhere near as much time as getting rid of e-mail spam. It’s like cold-call telephone calls: They ring, they listen to my ansafone message, they hang up. It does mean that when my friends ring me, unless I recognise their number on Caller Display, they have to listen to the message, but I pick up as soon as I recognise their voice.

So what about the postie? Well, he may have been doing his best to help people out…but if I was caught giving advice which could dramatically reduce my employers’ turnover, I’d at least expect them to take a dim view of it. The Daily Mail – my favourite hate target among the British press – has been rising up in defence of the postman, but I wonder how they’d react if their own employees started a campaign of telling people “Don’t buy the Daily Mail, it’s right-wing reactionary garbage”?

Which would at least have the advantage of being truthful.

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