This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 5, 2007 10:39 PM. The previous post in this blog was As high as you can get in Oregon (legally). The next post in this blog is Semper non sequitur. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, March 5, 2007

C'mon, Fireman Randy, save the planet

Here's a suggestion for Portland's green, sustainable City Council. Today we got something on our front porch that we didn't ask for and didn't want: a plastic bag containing two phone books from a phone company that we don't do business with. We already get two phone books every year from our evil phone company, Qwest, which we keep. But there seem to be three or four more that show up, unsolicited and useless, every year. Like today's two.

The latest load of dead trees and wasted ink went straight from the front porch to the curbside recycling bin, without ever entering the house. The plastic bag, we'll have to reuse or recycle at a local retail outlet.

But why is this happening? How many tons of solid waste are being created here, for no reason other than to sell advertising? Why are these folks allowed to squander natural resources, drop what amounts to litter on private property, and force residents to deal with it? At the very least, we should be able to opt out of receiving those books in the future. And the dumpors should be required to make it easy for us dumpees to say no -- on the internet, perhaps.

Wait -- now, don't tell me that all those campaign contributions that the phone companies make would actually influence city policy. Would they?

Gentlemen, when you're done busting my chops about having grass in my yard and owning a car, could you please do something about these guys? Thanks.

Comments (22)

It definitely seems like litter to me. I've been meaning to try and find out who/where I call to opt out.

Wait -- now, don't tell me that all those campaign contributions that the phone companies make would actually influence city policy. Would they?

But doesn't it seem a little mean to imply corruption when the honest truth is probably that no one thought of legislating it yet? Maybe I'm wrong, but I kinda doubt these stupid "fake yellow pages" companies really make a lot of city council donations... most of them aren't even phone companies, just marketers!

I'm all for the idea, but it just seems like you could've phrased it more as a suggestion and less of an attack. "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar," or whatever.

I believe the name Verizon was on the cover of the phone books I just tossed. And if you look around at the campaign finance reports, you'll see that name (and those of its competitors) on a lot of checks to politicians.

Their ugly antennas are everywhere, all permitted by the city. And we can't get a sensible ban on using handheld cell phones while driving passed in Salem, either. Let's call a spade a spade, shall we?


I'm shocked, SHOCKED, that you might suggest our City Commissioners can be bought for so cheap a price.

If you really want to get something done (or not done), a mere campaign contribution is not going to cut it. A standing job offer after you leave the council? A large donation to your favorite charity, quizas? A high paying job for a friend/family member who just needs to get their foot in the door? It's all on the up and up, right. If it was illegal, Hardy Myers and/or the FBI would be investigating? Those kinds of things happen in San Diego or Chicago, but not in pure-as-the-wind-driven-snow Portland.

Besides which, they ONLY TOOK DIRTY MONEY IN THE BAD OLD DAYS. Now it's all clean money, all the time. Corruption averted; incumbents retained. Vladimir prosecuted.

Not all power and influence is conveyed by check. Back to sleep, sheeples.

Finally ... someone else who's sick and tired of the never ending pile of phone books left on our porches. Make them stop -- make them stop. UGH.

maybe we could find an address, then everybody mail the books back (postage due) to the sender?

It's a little known fact that all city buildings are drop off points for unwanted phone books. Just set them inside the front door and someone will take care of it.

We shouldn't have opt out of these. We should have to opt in. They are litter and I have been complaining about it for years.

I'm so glad you said something about those phone books--I hate them! I thought it was just one of those things that drive me and only me insane. Junk mail, phone books, stuff I have to (pay to) recycle.

Dan Saltzman is the commissioner who should be doing something about this, as he's in charge of both Franchises and Sustainable Development. My suggestion is to pass an ordinance saying only the company serving a residence is allowed to leave unsolicited phone books. That way if a customer doesn't want them, they can call their own phone company and opt out.

I love the free market and the free market loves me. That is why, when I get an unwanted phone book, I leave it on the front stoop and immediately call the distributor to tell them to pick it up. Amazingly, this works most of the time.

There is the additional bonus that the more the distributor needs to pick up the more it costs to distribute, and the more unlikely they are to produce 500 different unwanted varieties of yellow page.

I say unwanted phone book recipients unite and dial the distributors.


isn't it odd that most humans don't want 90% of the junk foisted upon us, but government makes it very difficult not to receive it?

someday, i hope to have all the rights that corporations have, and similar influence with my local government.

Who's the distributor, and what's its phone number? I'm sure some publicity of that information could go a long way toward curbing this practice (no pun intended).

Phone books? Yeesh. People still use those things? I havent opened one of those in years. Not since Google anyway.
It amazes me where I work, with 'net access, some guy will run around the office for 20 minutes trying to find a friggin' phone book. And a lot of the older guys absolutely refuse to use the internet in its place.
Out of the stone age, folks!

Especially in a competitive theater, publications NEED to have high distribution to justify ad rates. Ad rates are usually based on verifiable circulation / distribution audits. People only buy ads knowing their info (might be, according to the audit) seen at some point by the masses during the next 24/7/365.

Whether you actually want those phone books is not their primary concern. It's all about the distribution numbers.

If you've ever tried to cancel the O that's in part why they keep sending you issues (free) via various specials and blitzes. Their circulation has been dropping 6% a year and it is hard for them to seal ad deals like they used to with local media buyers.

Then again maybe it's all because Scott Thomason left town.

speaking of "out of the stone age":

i have a friend who has two cell phones, a Blackberry, a laptop, a Bluetooth (wireless) headset, and a few other gadgets. he packs all of these around every day.

when he noticed my five-year-old cell phone which i often turn off, he exclaimed:

"c'mon! get out of the stone age!"

it's all a matter of perspective, i guess. but i always wonder at what point "buy and use a lot of techno-crap" became synonymous with being advanced beyond "the stone age."

The Oregonian weekly throwaway is another thing I could do without. Fortunately, there is an Oregonian distributor a couple of blocks away and I throw the thing on their doorstep while I'm out walking.

DEX is now a separate entity from Qwest, so Amanda's idea doesn't fly, since it's not part of a phone company any more (and a lot of people--me included--don't have land line service anymore.)

My feeling: ban distribution of the books entirely and then if anyone wants one, they can call one of the phone book companies for it. Though, hmmmn, how would you look up the number?

DEX is now a separate entity from Qwest, so Amanda's idea doesn't fly, since it's not part of a phone company any more (and a lot of people--me included--don't have land line service anymore.)

Then per my plan, DEX wouldn't get to deliver unsolicited books to anyone, and people without land lines wouldn't get a phone book unless you asked for one.

When I left my home this morning, I picked up the bag of Verizon books by the mailbox, and put them directly into the recycling. On my return home a few minutes ago, a second set had been deposited by my front steps. So I retrieved the first set from the garage and put them both at the end of the driveway. Has anyone found the right number to call to have them removed?

If you've ever tried to cancel the O

No kidding...I cancelled mine almost two years ago. I still get it. I have called numerous time to get it stopped. Still there every morning. So it goes from the porch to the recycle box. Drives me nuts.

O: I finally put a sign in my yard that said: "if you can read this, do not leave any newspaper here!" That worked, after 9 calls to supervisors did not.

Now the stupid phone books. I am extremely disturbed that forests are being wrecked for this thing I have to recycle and never use.

What we need is a new definition of littering that includes this sort of thing.

I'm an apartment manager in the Hawthorne neighborhood, and for every one unwanted phone book you receive, I receive exactly 108 (spread out over 4 buildings). I called Verizon (their directories are distributed by Idearc Media) nearly a dozen times asking them to come back and pick them up, and eventually they got sick of me and blocked my number. Attempting to recycle them would have filled up my bin for the week, so I redelivered them to their Beaverton HQ. If you'd like to watch a too-long and poorly-edited video of the whole affair, it's here:

Just to follow up here, I did some more research today and found out that Verizon/Idearc subcontracts out the distribution of their directories to a company based in Kent, Washington called "Premiere Delivery Service. Their number is (253)872-4700, and they will pick up your unwanted Verizon phone book.

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