Saturday, November 22, 2008

Commerce Controls Your Nanny State


"Mailman Steve" -- a pudgy, kindly 58-year-old who toiled along a route in a rapidly growing neighborhood here -- was given probation in federal court this week for squirreling away at least seven years' worth of undelivered junk mail, which he had stacked in his garage and buried in his yard.

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It should come as no surprise that the U.S. Postal Service did not receive a single complaint from Padgett's customers about missing mail during the years he withheld pizza circulars, oil change discount notices and Chinese menus.

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Readers who followed Padgett's travails in the pages of the Raleigh News & Observer responded on behalf of a grateful citizenry. They thanked him for delivering his customers from unwanted mail.

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Padgett's efforts to spare the neighbors their junk mail were not much appreciated by the Direct Marketing Assn. The 3,400-member group considers such mail a boon for consumers seeking discounts and services and for small businesses seeking to target customers.

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The Postal Service also did not look kindly on Padgett's failure to deliver the "standard mail," which accounts for half the volume of U.S. mail and a third of the service's revenue. "We don't consider it junk mail," spokesman David Partenheimer said -- just as newspapers don't consider the ads that flutter out of the daily paper to be junk, he added.

LA Times


When everything is for sale, everything becomes corrupt.

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