Citizen complaint of the day: Can nothing stop the ceaseless barrage of Globe ad crap?

An annoyed citizen complains about Globe Direct bags (now in new clear plastic!) befouling Sumner Street in East Boston:

I've called the globe to have my name/address removed and they keep appearing. There are 3 in the street in front of our single family. Please contact the globe as I will continue to as well.



Free tagging: 


Short answer - no, nothing can stop them.

I've called their toll-free number, emailed their customer support, put a "do not deliver here" sign up on our property, and spoken directly to the delivery guy. Three weeks ago I contacted the Cambridge City council asking if there wasn't some trespassing or littering or any other kind of ordinance that they're in violation of. Got two answers back saying basically, "we'll look into it". But the trash keeps on coming.


Of Course, It's Littering...

... and a shameful waste of resources! It might be trespassing too, especially since you've taken so many measures to let them know they're not welcome on your property.

But you're right, until someone brings a class action suit or some other civil litigation against the Globe and/or its advertisers, they'll just blatantly refuse to stop delivering them.

Not littering

Way back in the day, posting notices was a free speech issue and the only way to alert the neighborhood to an upcoming forum. Advertising groups have basically shoe-horned the allowance for community notices.

The way to stop this is to enact a law, like NYC did in 2007, that says "if a person posts a sign saying you can't leave your crap here, then we'll fine you for leaving your crap there when they complain".

2007 Lawn Litter Law of NY


Give Up

Nothing can stop these useless, unwanted, unneeded items. NOTHING. Whether by mail, as they used to be delivered, or by hand, which is now the way they come. If it's not that way, it will be another. Nothing can stop them.

Not really being "delivered"

I never got the feeling these things were being "delivered" in the traditional sense. Seems to me they're just dumped on the street, sometimes making it to the front steps, most often not. I'd complain too, but the impact would be minimal, if they knew they were delivering it to my house, simply because every other house on the street would still have them strewn on their sidewalks/steps.

Maybe in West Roxbury

So, when you see dog shit lying on your front walk, you just pick it up? I know I can do that with the Globe Direct bags. I can also let my kid play with the Globe Direct things (under supervision.) He loves ripping ads up. Do you let your kid play with dog shit?

Look, I would defend Globe Direct (it's keeping the Globe going, and if you think the Globe has gone downhill, imagine them doing it with less money) but I see the point of attacking them, especially in a place like the North End, where there is no front walk for them to land on. But trust me, they are much better to have left in front of your house than a pile of dog shit.

I do ignore the Globe Direct when they are occasionally left in our yard. I have a pile of them on the porch. The missus loves the grocery store ads, but the come in the Thursday Globe already. Once again, a use for them. I cannot even put dog shit in the compost bin.

Globe Direct. Savings Central.

"Globe Direct: Globe Direct is the ultimate answer for one-stop direct mail and shared mail marketing services. Its capabilities include design, printing, list management, data processing, and all aspects of production, logistics, shipping, and postal management. It offers advertisers a dramatically easier, faster, and more efficient direct marketing solution."

"Inserts: Combine the flexibility of customized printing and delivery of The Boston Globe with full-run and targeted options to meet retailers' needs. Savings Central extends the Globe's reach by delivering a free packet of money-saving offers and coupons from local and national brands to households who have opted in. And now, inserts go digital and mobile right from the homepages of and"

Not much better...

Its not much better in Chelsea either, since no one picks up trash anywhere (and often add more to it), they just pile up out in front of doorways. Now with the snow/slush/crap they are now just balls of wet paper in a plastic bag. Gross. (actually if you step on one its even more gross as the wet newsprint goes everywhere.. kinda like shit in a bag)

I only like them because its the only place to get the Market Basket flyer without going into the store to get one (or looking online), and I usually ditch the rest of the advertisements. I only care about the MB flyer..

I'm about ready to ask the city manager to see if there's anything he can do about it because its clear that very few people are actually reading them and/or cleaning them up. I know the Globe has a right to advertise but where's the line between advertisement and litter?

Good For You

It's nice that you find some value in them, but many other people do not. We see through the so-called "discounts" and "special offers" as mere gimmicks (e.g.: a $1.00 off coupon on something that's been overpriced by a dollar to begin with).

It ought to be an "Opt In" service, so that people like yourself can still receive the bags if you really want them, instead of littering our neighborhoods and aggravating everyone else who has no way of "Opting Out".

Opt-in would never work

The business model of selling advertising space and delivery works through bulk scale. If 10% of the ads are read and used, then you have to spam 1,000,000 people to get 100,000 customers. "We will give your add to a million people" sells more ads than "we know 100,000 people who want to see your ads".

Also, if a driver delivers to every door on a route that hasn't opted out, he can do a whole neighborhood easily. If it is opt-in, he will drive maybe 50% of the same route just to deliver to 10% of the doors he passes.

Even worse for opt-in is that every mistaken delivery means someone got it who didn't want it and someone else didn't get what they wanted. Upsetting people who don't want it on opt-out means someone who doesn't even want to be a customer anyways is upset (who cares).

The only fix is to make them care more about delivering to a do not disturb list. That requires a NO AD law combined with stiff penalties and fast enforcement.

Here's An Idea

Asking the Globe to stop them will never work because they're paid for by the advertisers and not the recipients. Therefore, sending a message to the advertisers would be more effective. Suppose a particular day of the month was chosen when everyone gathers up all the packets they've received and/or find littering their neighborhoods.

Bring the collection to one of the stores who uses the service and politely place them all upon the store's customer service desk; optionally, with a personal note decrying the wasteful practice and asking them to stop it. (i.e.: just drop them off, don't hold up the line for other customers) Also on that same day; call or email the merchants and complain about the store littering your neighborhood with their unwanted material.

One or two people doing this would simply be ignored, but if enough people participated; and all on the same day every month; it just might encourage the merchants to reevaluate their misguided decision to advertise that way.

Why hurt your fellow man?

Putting them out of business by going after their clients helps you from never getting them again. But your fellow man is using them to save money. Get a city ordinance penalizing them for delivery and give enforcement to some city staff that has the time and ability to quickly respond to any ad droppers (Globe Direct, restaurants, etc.).

It may even generate a bit of revenue for the city.

Why Hurt The Planet?

In this day and age, there are many other ways to advertise, besides blanketing communities with large amounts of printed paper in plastic bags. The problem is that the Globe is being irresponsible in not honoring requests from people who don't wish to receive it, and they also make no effort to clean up their rejected deliveries when they litter our neighborhoods. I'm afraid I don't have much sympathy for a company that does business that way.

Advertising is a form of free speech, but not when it intrudes upon someone else's private property. Do you let everyone who knocks on your door enter your home and try to sell you a product? Do you stop what you're doing whenever a telemarketer calls so you can listen to whatever their sales pitch is? So, why should it be all right for someone to force their printed advertising into your home when you repeatedly tell them no?

How are you speculating that this could possibly generate any revenue for the city? On the contrary, there are costs incurred from having to clean up the litter, and there are also costs to ultimately dispose of all the paper and plastic, regardless of whether they're wanted or not.

Improve the content of Globe Direct and Savings Central

The content of Globe Direct and Savings Central could be improved with better money saving offers, better written advertising. For example, the mattress advertising lacks information about how to get a good mattress. Instead the mattress offers are for the least expensive mattresses that aren't good products and hook the least informed customers.

See also

That's What They're Intended To Do

... aren't good products and hook the least informed customers.

Decent products that are a good value don't need that sort of intensive advertising, and well informed shoppers are not so easily taken in by garish promotions. Email spam exists because a few people actually fall for it; so, through sheer volume, the spammers' efforts pay off. The Globe Direct works exactly the same way.