Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Littering Made Legal?

Having been a homeowner almost my entire adult life, I am used to finding flyers and handbills on my front door. They have ranged from jumbo-sized door hangers with pizza coupons to simple business cards advertising a house cleaning business. We also get paper ads for satellite TV, house painting, carpet cleaning, pest control, petsitting services, and realtors. But I find that the most flyers are sent out by landscaping companies.

These things are commonly circulated by a guy walking door-to-door. But not always.

In recent years, business owners have found a way to get their company name on every house without ever leaving the comfort of their air conditioned cars. They place their ads or business cards inside plastic baggies with a few pieces of gravel. The gravel is necessary to weigh the ad down so it won't blow away. They then drive through neighborhoods and chuck these baggie rock ads out the car window, onto sidewalks and driveways.

The way I was raised, that's called littering...unless it's the newspaper. But I've decided to make lemonade out of lemons. I toss the gravel in my front yard and throw the rest in the trash. At the current rate, all the bare areas of our desert landscaping should soon be filled in.

But now the distributors are kicking things up a notch. Yesterday, I was the lucky recipient of driveway litter that employed two new weight methods:

The first was a flyer attached to a clothes pin. No problem, I can always use another clothes pin. They're great for keeping Jango's kitty litter bags closed. The ad was for a house painting service. Apparently, these guys don't have ready access to gravel like the landscapers do.

The second was a landscaping coupon that was stapled to a small wood block. This one made me angry. It was tossed in the driveway, just right of center, but in the path of my car tire. I was able to straddle the offending object, and still park without encroaching on Q's half of the garage. But I was left fuming at the possibiltiy that I could have driven over this unwanted piece of trash and done some damage to one of the tires.

In my neighborhood, these flyers have become quite pervasive. If residents don't remove them at least daily, the front of the house will look like a Xerox machine threw up on it. And a house covered in paper ads is also ripe for a break-in. For this reason, I have to hire a neighbor kid just to pick up our flyers when we go on vacation.

In the meantime, I have decided to boycott any and all businesses who choose to ugly up my driveway with their rocks and wood. To them I say this: If you want me to even consider spending money at your establishment, you would be wise to--at minimun--walk your flyer all the way to my front door. Or better yet, make it into a post card and mail it to me. That way, I can throw it away on my way back from the mailbox.


denise price said...

Val- They don't do that in Virginia- I've never ever seen anyone throw an advertisement in a baggie with a rock or anything heavy onto a driveway.
The post office doesn't want you putting anything in their box but it doesn't stop people from taping things to the mailbox or leaving it on your doorknob. That's strange. I wonder why things are so different? Denise

Ms. Val said...

Denise: You're lucky. I wish there would be some sort of moratorium on that practice here.

Also, around here, ad distributers don't put things in the mailboxes because we don't have private mailboxes. Instead, we have cluster boxes at the end of the block with individual doors that lock.