City Council to consider smacking Globe Direct upside the head with its circulars

The city council next week considers a request from Councilor Tim McCarthy (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan) for a hearing on what to do about Globe Direct's unceasing efforts to coat the entire city in advertising circulars.

In his hearing request, McCarthy reports "numerous" complaints from constituents about the sheathed ads turning into litter.

He says the way the circulars are befouling local streets may violate city ordinances in general and on the prevention of newspaper litter in particular and notes that the Globe subsidiary recently reached an agreement with Cambridge to knock it off - and actually comply with resident requests to stop delivery of the things.

The council will take up the request at its regular Wednesday meeting, which begins at noon in its fifth-floor chambers in City Hall. If the council agrees, the issue will be referred to a council committee, which will then schedule the hearing.

In the meantime, the Better Business Bureau has a Globe Direct complaint form.

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Comments

Fixed

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Sorry about that. Last thing I'd want to do is keep somebody from that form.

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I'm glad that my counselor is

I'm glad that my counselor is gutsy enough to tackle this challenging issue! But seriously, I have a hard time believing that there isn't some way to stop the Globe Direct madness. Could I load up a trunk full of trash, then drive around the neighborhood at 6am throwing old cigarette packs and McDonald's wrappers in people's front yards? No? Then why can the (decent, hardworking) Globe Direct drivers do the same with some soggy newsprint in a plastic bag?

I know, I know. I'm about a year late to this party.

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First Amendment

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A long time ago, there was no craigslist, no UHub, no internet, no town message boards. If you wanted people to show up at your meeting or learn about something important, you had to go nail it to their front door. Of course, you could also leave it on their doorstep or slip it under the door, but the point was that these solicitations were considered important rights of free speech free from governmental oppression.

As a result, later attempts to control people's ability to leave you an important flyer or political advocacy note or whatever have been considered protected speech. The advertisers then used the same argument and won in court to keep delivering their important messages to you without government intrusion.

All this leads to them being allowed to toss a cheap plastic bag full of ads on your doorstep whenever they like and there's not a damn bit you can do about it. Some states have "no solicitation" laws that allow you to post that you refuse these things preemptively and they have to abide by that or suffer a penalty. MA is not one of those.

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If not littering.....

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How about trespassing? They enter my property unwanted and without permission.

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Ah, they're too clever for

Ah, they're too clever for that. At least in my neighborhood, they stay in their cars or on the sidewalk, and only the trash ends up on my property.

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12

In general, people are

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In general, people are allowed to walk up to front doors and ring the bell, unless they've been told not to.

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Is it posted?

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Trespass requires you to give them notice directly or have a posted notice. I can't find anything that defines what constitutes a "posted notice".

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Red plum

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Please add red plum to this! Just as annoying.

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Zero market sense

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If it's opt in, there's zero reason for advertisers to pay the distributor to send out their ads because the potential market reach is essentially nil.

You might as well outlaw it if you're going to make it opt-in.

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12

In the Netherlands

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there are little stickers that you put on your door that indicate whether you do or don't want adverts:

Ja/Nee means "Yes, I would like to receive the free local paper but no, I don't want leaflets, brochures and advertisements."

Nee/Nee means "I don't want to receive any mail that is not personally addressed to me, so no leaflets and no free local paper."

I think it's time to write to my representatives to see about instituting such a thing here. First Amendment be damned. Your right to "free speech" stops at my property line.

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I don't mind, but....

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If they delivered these with the same accuracy as the regular Boston Globe (i.e. usually on my porch within 6 feet of the door) I wouldn't really mind. It's finding the bag somewhere in my back yard that makes it a chore to take apart and recycle. If I didn't get THE SAME ads already, inside Wednesday's Globe, I would actually look FORWARD to these ads.

The problem is all in the fine details. Don't deliver them to Globe subscribers and don't just throw them anywhere. Solve that and I become a defender instead of a critic.

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That's my gripe

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Thursday morning brings the most excitement relating to the delivery of the Globe to my house that any Globe delivery brings, as the grocery ads, the cornerstone of a week's worth of meals, arrive.

However, there is no joy when we got home from work in the evening and find the same ads, sans newspaper, sitting in the garden.

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13

A few months ago

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I found literally 200+ of the Globe Direct bags in front of my house. I now use them for what I use the circulars for, picking up dog crap

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Probably not

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Maybe I should be more skeptical, but given that the RMV is a state agency, I'm doubting that plays any role on how the city responds to the issue.