A 'do not deliver' list for those free newspapers that litter driveways and apartment lobbies? That's what one fed-up Maryland woman is proposing:
Connie Finch doesn't read a newspaper, but she picks up plenty each morning. At least one free newspaper is dropped at the end of her driveway each day, and she picks up more newspapers left by her neighbors.
All of them end up in the garbage.
"We're not asking for it," Finch said. "And it's just littering our streets."
Complaints from the Westminster resident Finch and others about free home-delivery newspapers in Maryland have inspired State Del. Tanya Shewell to propose a "Do Not Deliver" registry that would work similarly to the "Do Not Call" registry for telemarketers. If approved, would be the first of its kind in the nation.
Naturally, newspaper publishers are tremendously sympathetic to Ms. Finch...just not sympathetic enough to actually do anything about it:
"My desire for the newspaper to not go to those who don't want it far exceeds their desire to stop getting it. ... I hate it when we annoy readers, and keeping that annoyance to a minimum is among my highest priorities," said Michael Phelps, CEO of Clarity Media Group's Baltimore-Washington Examiner Newspaper Group.
The newspaper industry is fighting the proposed registry, saying it isn't needed.
"Nobody wants to send out papers that are wasted, that people just throw away," said Jack Murphy, executive director of the Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia Press Association.
Of course they do, because they're not newspapers at all; they're advertising vehicles, with recipes and week-old community features gluing them together into a simulacrum of a weekly paper. And the ads are sold on a circulation-number basis, not on the actual number of eyeballs that actually look at the thing before it heads to the recycle bin or the trash.
I hate legal solutions to problems that could be solved with a little common sense and courtesy, but I hate this waste more. And if Ms. Finch can make headway on this, I'll take up a collection for her to attack an even bigger pestilence: stacks of unwanted telephone books from no-name companies.