Friday, October 5, 2012

How the Hartford Courant is Making Our Streets Uglier

This morning, like every Friday, I awake to find two sets of advertising circulars, wrapped in plastic bags in my driveway.

They are delivered, unsolicited, by the Hartford Courant.

I look up and down the street and see the same thing in every driveway.

I pick up the bags, separate the paper from the plastic bags and place them in the recycling pile.

What a waste.

There are several things wrong with this scenario.  First, this material is thrown into my yard, unbidden by the Courant.  If I'm not mistaken, that's littering.

Second, I live in a one-family house, but two packets are delivered.

Three, I must make the effort to recycle something I haven't asked for. This puts a slight burden on me, but citywide, it puts an enormous burden on our collection and processing of materials.

Four, not everyone is conscientious about picking up the packets, so after a few days, if it remains dry, the packets are pounded into scraps which blow around the street, or if it's wet, pounded into a pile of mush which eventually washes into the curb and down a storm drain.

You can call the Courant and ask to be removed from the list.  Navigating the phone menu system is not easy, especially because there are few choices for "non-subscribers."  But if you follow the subscription/circulation route, you will eventually end up talking to someone in a non-US nation who will remove you from the list.  I spoke to "Jeff" who pronounced his name "yeff," who told me it would take three weeks to stop the circulars from being delivered.

We'll see.

In the meantime, it seems appropriate that city hall take up the matter to reduce the burden on our waste collection efforts, and to keep the streets clean.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've been battling this for many months. They may stop for a few weeks, but then they start again. I don't think they ever actually mark you off a list. It is just that they start and stop deliveries to various neighborhoods on some sort of schedule. I've noticed that sometimes for a few weeks, NO ONE in my neighborhood gets one when I don't. Then a few weeks later we all start getting them again. I've even called the police on two occasions. The first time, the officer called them, and then said he was going over to their Middletown office to speak to someone face to face. It didn't help. The police claim it is a civil matter. I asked what would happen if I were to throw unwanted items in the Courant's driveway. They said I would probably at least get a ticket. My issue is that I am frequently away for a few days at a time on short notice, and that thing lying in my driveway announces to the world that I'm not home.

Anonymous said...

Dealing with the Courant is like commenting on the Eye. You are ignored - only in the Eye's case it's when Ed doesn't agree with the comments you try to post.



Anonymous said...

so what is wrong with hiring non english speakers or people in foreign countries? is speak with an accent and find this offensive

Karen Swartz said...

The energy that goes into producing and printing as well as the transportation to deliver are also problematic. Especially considering the intended recipient is not even looking at the information delivered. I wonder what percentage of people do look through it versus simply tossing it, unopened. It does seem like a good waste reduction project for our city's Recycling Coordinator to take on.

joseph getter said...

Similarly, the (unwanted, unneeded) phone books are still delivered periodically. An aggravating waste that (as mentioned in a comment) signals the homeowner isn't home.

Anonymous said...

You can opt out of the phone books. Although I haven;t been able to get the same courtesy from the Courant, I had no difficulty stopping phone books. The Courant's boiler-plate promise that it takes 3 weeks to stop delivery of their litter is bogus. They have a circulation system that keeps track of all subscriptions that can stop delivery the same day you call... if they wanted to. That system even prints out constantly updated "bundle labels" that are wrapped around each batch of materials that are given to a delivery person. That bundle label has complete instructions about stops and starts on the delivery route. It can even have important messages printed out in very large type to make sure those changes are noticed by the route driver.

Anonymous said...

One shouldn't have to call to get off a list. How is someone littering private property legal? When they miss and it lands in the street, that is indeed littering. It's no mystery who is doing this, so why can't the police issue tickets? How is it a civil matter?

Liz Warner said...

I called their advertising department to ask them to stop littering my street! The woman insists they place the bags "respectfully" in our driveways. I asked to be taken off the delivery schedule and they skipped one week and went right back to littering my property. They also claimed that if the bag remains in the driveway when they come to deliver the next one, they do not add to the pile. So I let it sit. That is hogwash, too. Because I live on a street with some Wesleyan houses and a few empty residences, every few weeks I walk my street to pick up all the bags that have accumulated. Thank goodness the bags are good for picking up my dogs poop. I am disgusted that the Hartford Courant continues to get away with this! Write to the vice-president of advertising to complain. nmeyer@courant.com

Anonymous said...

I've asked for the phone books not to come- they still do! Two sets of two - to a single family home!

I agree - get the city to issue tickets!

Anonymous said...

Wow people have nothing better to do than complain about a dying media. Yes it is a pain to pick them up and dispose of them, but my god people is this really worth complaining about.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps of the police were called by every person, every time, they would decide to get involved. Insist that they send out an officer to talk to you. Maybe they don't see it as a problem, because it's not a problem for them. Further, I won't do business with any company who has an insert in that bundle. I am currently shopping to replace a large sectional sofa that was bought at Puritan many years ago. They have been crossed off my short list for the replacement, so their advertising has COST them a $3500 sale already.

The Blue Cat said...

Yes its worth complaining about. This practice is UNWANTED. The few people who do enjoy the service should opt into it.

Perhaps ED you should also start a petition to stop this behavior. Like one commenter said, what if you collected unwanted items and left them at the current. Perhaps collect as many of these as you can and leave them on the front of there steps... respectfully mind you.

Yes its a dieing media and they are making money of throwing these advertising bundles in your yard. But a majority of us most likely dont think its right to throw these things in our yards when we dont want it.

Oh and if you pick up them from others yards when someone doesn't even live in the home I am sure its called stealing by someones definition.

Karen Swartz said...

Yes it is worth speaking up about because it is wasteful. I sent an email to nmeyer@courant.com as suggested in a comment above. Here is the response I got: "Thank you for you note. We take these concerns very seriously and address them with each resident as well as with with the municipalities. We can cease delivery to your home if you would like. Please let me know and we will handle immediately.
Nancy Meyer"

Anonymous said...

I agree the papers can be annoying. The Hartford Courant should stop delivering if a person puts in a request. I also agree that the person delivering should deliver the papers properly. Yet I have not heard anyone complaining when the papers was being delivered by the mailman. Yes I know this is not considered littering, but its still annoying to received them. You don't want to receive them call the Courant and keep bothering them.

Linda said...

slightly different twist on the problem with The Courant deliveries: I purchased a subscription for a time period for a relative. When the time period expired, I did not renew it - the family member didn't want it. The Courant called me and made several different offers to renew the delivery which I turned down; the person on the phone advised me of the small balance due which I put on the credit card and said that the deliveries would stop. Short time later, I got a call from The Courant looking for payment on that account. I spoke with the person on the phone and was told that the only way that a subscription could be canceled was for the homeowner to CALL the Courant and ask to be cancelled. It doesn't work for the Courant to call you to have the subscription to be cancelled. This time they promised to stop deliverying it.

Anonymous said...

I now declare open season for any business to dump advertising wherever they want.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Ed, I disagree, this is not an issue for City Hall. They have better things to do and I really don't want my tax money to go towards paying some crony/relative on the municipal payroll calling the Hartford Courant.

The reference to the non english speaking person was in bad taste, although I suspect it was intended to be funny. It fell flat and was rather offensive.

I have a solution - bend over and pick up the dumb paper instead of leaving them littered on the walk and creating an eyesore for your neighbors.

Anonymous said...


I've been battling this problem with the Courant for many months. They may stop for a few weeks, but then they start again. I don't think they ever actually mark you off a list. It is just that they start and stop deliveries to various neighborhoods on some sort of schedule. I've noticed that sometimes for a few weeks, NO ONE in my neighborhood gets one when I don't. Then a few weeks later we all start getting them again. I've even called the police on two occasions. The first time, the officer called them, and then said he was going over to their Middletown office to speak to someone face to face. It didn't help. The police claim it is a civil matter. I asked what would happen if I were to throw unwanted items in the Courant's driveway. They said I would probably at least get a ticket. My issue is that I am frequently away for a few days at a time on short notice, and that thing lying in my driveway for several days announces to the world that I'm not home.

Anonymous said...

I just reported to the Department of Consumer Protection. Maybe if all report same they will do something about it. They had no problem stopping the paper when I canceled so what's the deal with these coupons?

Anonymous said...

I went to City Hall a couple weeks ago. Someone was supposed to get back to me. Never happened. It's littering pure and simple.

Anonymous said...

Corporate pigs!!