City councilors say Globe Direct circulars are not just unsightly, they're a threat to public safety

City councilors from across the city said today their constituents are complaining about the seemingly unstoppable onslaught of plastic-sheathed Globe Direct ads.

"These bags are everywhere," City Councilor Tim McCarthy (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan) said at a council meeting today. "Lawns, hedges, porches, steps."

The council agreed with McCarthy's request for a hearing at which residents and city officials can complain about the circulars and the Globe subsidiary can explain itself. Separately, City Councilor Matt O'Malley (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain0 chairs a Clean Boston Task Force meeting at 4 p.m. tomorrow in City Hall at which Globe Direct is expected to be a major topic of discussion - O'Malley said Globe Direct ads have become the number-one cleanliness complaint in residential areas.

McCarthy explained how the circulars are a public-safety menace: Boston is a city of snowbirds, who spend long vacations down south in the winter, but because Globe Direct simply refuses to acknowledge many requests to stop deliveries, the things pile up on the residents' porches, becoming a beacon to would-be housebreakers looking for easy pickings. "Nothing says I'm not home more than 15 or 20 Globe Direct bags on your porch," he said.

He added the city shouldn't be forced to clean up after Globe Direct, especially in the winter, when they become trash "shot out of snowblowers."

"It's just ridiculous," City Councilor Sal LaMattina (East Boston, Charlestown, North End) agreed. LaMattina said he's been hearing complaints for more than a year and trying without success to get Globe Direct to behave itself. "It's just a blight," he said.

He noted Globe Direct recently agreed to take steps in Cambridge to reduce delivery of unwanted circulars.

Councilor Tito Jackson (Roxbury) agreed "it's an urgent issue" and said it's particularly obnoxious for the ad bags to pile up on the porches of foreclosed houses. He added he also wants something done about the proliferation of "Sell your house for cash" signs, which he said "communicated something negative in our neighborhoods."

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Comments

While we're all getting in a

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While we're all getting in a kerfuffle over things that are making our neighborhoods look dirty and negative, anything we can do about losing scratch tickets? Those things are EV - ER - Y - WHERE.

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Funny you should mention those

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O'Malley made a distinction between litter in commercial areas and residential areas, and he said scratch tickets are definitely one of the top complaints in commercial areas.

His task force's meeting, for anybody interested, starts at 4 p.m. tomorrow in the Piemonte Room on the fifth floor of City Hall.

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OMG yes

When I first moved to the area, I was blown away by the sheer number of discarded, trashed lotto scratchers I saw on the ground. I've seen trashy neighborhoods and litter before, but never hundreds and hundreds of scratchers like that. I guess I'm just used to it now, like everyone else.

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They tried that already and

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They tried that already and it worked. Around 15-20 years ago to cut down on litter, the Lottery allowed you to trade in a stack of discarded scratch tickets in exchange for a free ticket. The problem was that it worked too well, so when the Lottery held "redemption days" they were crushed by the volume of people showing up with truckloads of used scratch tickets.

There was a Globe story about how the Lottery caused a traffic jam on Storrow Drive after a redemption event held around the Hatch shell. They postponed scheduling the next redemption day for months and months, with ticket-collectors screaming that they had accumulated garages full of tickets waiting to trade them in. The lottery then suddenly discontinued the trade-in program. The people holding those garage-fulls worth of tickets were mad as heck and threatened to sue, since they effectively did a lot of worth for the Commonwealth cleaning up litter without getting compensated, but I don't know what became of that.

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What's really scary...

...is when you see a string of 10 or more $20 tickets lying on the ground. Really dude, you just blew $200 on scratch tickets?

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Oh, this is COMMON, I'm sure

Oh, this is COMMON, I'm sure even more so now that there are the $10 and $20 ones.

When I was in high school (20+years ago) I worked at a store that sold scratch tickets. We had one regular customer and you could set your watch by how regularly she came in. Claire, on Friday afternoons. She had her own strategy for buying tickets, something about the numbers that the ticket books were at, and she would buy according to it. And it was buy, buy, buy, buy, win $1, buy, buy, buy.... She would complain the whole time that, "They're putting fewer winners in here than they used to, I'm losing money." And I was always thinking, "So, stop buying them." She would easily drop $50 each visit, and you could sense that there was something compulsive about her buying, that it was a need, and not just a fun thing.

So, I thought that she lived locally in the town and stopped at our store because we were nearby. Then, one day I saw her many miles away at a mall doing the same thing. I don't know if she didn't recognize me, or she didn't want to recognize me, but she definitely didn't acknowledge me. I mentioned this to another person at work who told me, "Oh, no, Claire lives in *name of town that was 10 miles away* we're just on her route."

At the time, Mass Lottery came out with the $5 and $10 scratch tickets during the holidays, and I remember thinking that they were going to be a problem if you were a compulsive gambler. I used to think that a $1 scratch ticket was just a fun thing, but after watching this woman, I could never bring myself to buy them, and to this day, I still think about Claire whenever I see someone buying a big string of tickets.

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Signs

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Serious question.
What is more unsightly and destructive to our neighborhoods? Globe Direct bags? Sell your house for cash signs? Scratch tickets? Or as I would suggest, "Bennett for Sherriff" signs, on old deteriorating scrap wood, fading paint, and just all around ugliness.

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Sheriff Bennett

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Who is this "Sheriff Bennett" anyway? I don't think I've ever seen his name on a ballot and I vote in every election. Those kindergarten-style signs have been around forever and I wonder if he won, lost, or just likes to see his name on random walls around Boston.

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Have you noticed...

... that he now actually has pre-printed signs that copy the slap-dash handmade ones originally scrawled onto walls, etc.?

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No!!!!!!!!!

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The hand paintedness of the signs are the best part.

Pre-printed ones are so, um, professional.

Keep it real, Dougy!

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Pants on fire?

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These signs and the campaign are intentionally misleading. Bennett is NOT a sheriff, he's just a dude running for sheriff.

I wonder how well it would have went down if, say, pre-Mayor Marty had signs that said "Vote for Mayor Walsh!"

Funny

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Ours aren't bagged and they get stuffed right in the mailboxes. So do I ever open them? No. Are they still a waste of paper and a pain because other mail sometimes gets stuck in with them? Yes. But at least I can toss them right in the recycling. The bag makes it extra annoying.

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Same here...

... in fact, in all of my former (Somerville) domiciles, as well as here, we got the Globe Direct wrapped around the mail, every Tuesday or Wednesday.

I use mine (I know, that's weird), to figure out when soda/pasta/cereal is on sale. I usually strip the packet of the obligatory Comcast/Verizon stuff. It all goes into the recyling the next week.

If GD ever turns up in a bag on my sidewalk (or worse, in my vinca), I'll be bitching to high freaking heaven.

It's time to require Globe Direct to either mail them &/or customers get to opt-in (both would work for me).

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Almost worse

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Neither are ours, but that's almost worse. They get jammed into the mailbox with all the real mail, and if you're not careful, actual mail can get caught in the inner pages. I've accidentally thrown out important stuff because I can't be arsed to even shake out the damn Globe Direct circulars--they don't deserve to be dignified by my even acknowledging them.

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Check them first

Ours are delivered by mail as well. I always go through the circulars because sometimes real mail gets stuck in them.

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The ads aren't the problem

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It's the delivery system that's the problem. These things were delivered by mail until around a year ago. When you go away and have your mail held, the post office (usually) stops delivery. There's no incentive for Globe Direct's new bottom-feeders to do anything but hurl as many bundles as they can in the shortest time possible. I like seeing the supermarket sales, but I wish they'd go back to regular mail.

But the city is guilty too. I'm always getting leaf-bagging, trash recycling, and snow parking notes attached to some fence post with a rubber band. If I'm on vacation, they say "nobody's home" almost as loudly as a pile of Globe Directs.

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"Incoming"

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I was on Bunker Hill Street in Charlestown fairly early a few months back and on several occasions watched them as they were pitched out of a moving car or van at some velocity. Quite a racket. On the one occasion one went zipping past me a little close it was hard to not briefly entertain the notion of zipping it back.

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No, The Ads Are The Problem. It Is Spam.

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If you enjoy the Globe Direct, then it should be something you must opt-in to. Many people object to the annoyance, and are dismayed at the wasted resources consumed by the delivery of this unwanted advertising, and the unnecessary costs incurred to dispose of it.

Make it stop!

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Improve quality of advertising text instead of tricky wording

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Improve the quality of advertising text instead of the usual tricky wording
http://www.wired.com/2014/06/5-hidden-visual-tricks-advertisers-use-to-s...

Get better advertisers.

Include great coupons for savings.

Note there are two services on two different days of the week... Savings Central isn't Globe Direct.
https://services.bostonglobe.com/cs/sccancel.aspx
https://services.bostonglobe.com/cs/sczip.aspx

http://goo.gl/F9dbDL
https://www.google.com/search?q="globe+direct"

LAUGH OUT LOUD

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Perhaps we can find something for the Boston City Council to do. This crew makes Peggy Davis Mullen and Dave Scondras look like Washington and Jefferson.

Quality of Life, my friend

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People don't like 'em. They complain to their elected officials. Elected officials try to react to said complaints by calling the "offenders" on the carpet to explain themselves.

I might not agree with those who complain, but I would say that the City Council is doing exactly what we elected them to do.

Or what, pray tell, should the Council be doing?

A more interactive Boston City Council.

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Boston City Council could open/release the Stenographic Record of the Public Meeting and/or the full text of Captioning on the Public Meeting webcast for hard of hearing, for all to send feedback, comment, suggestions, questions to the Councilors' remarks. A more interactive Boston City Council would get word from folks interested in reading the Stenograph Record. A feature that would get greater civic participation for Councilors' campaigns
http://anopenbostoncitycouncil.blogspot.com

So

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You are saying that the docket of the City Council should be the docket of the City Council.

Congratulations, your argument has now looped.

I won't edit mine

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So, the proceedings of the City Council should be about the proceedings of the City Council, and that's it.

Again, it would seem that some rip in the space-time continuum would occur.

circular on freshly painted porch

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I know this post is old but today I needed to vent - one of their idiot delivery persons just threw a globe direct onto my freshly painted porch. To do this they had to throw it up and over the large stepladder with a sign marked "fresh paint" that was blocking access to said porch.

Thanks, Globe Direct!