Friday Rant

Maybe two or three…

I have a problem with the Houston Chronicle. Of course, the Chronicle has its own problems in that it is a printed newspaper in the age of the Internet. But a failing business model is not my problem. What is my problem is the fact that the Chronicle folks like destroying my neighborhood. Okay… maybe “destroying” is a harsh term. Every week, on Wednesday, a guy rumbles around my neighborhood in an old Chrysler New Yorker. The car is belching fumes and creaking and the guy inside is tossing out a plastic covered packet of coupons and a message to subscribe. This flimsy advertising sometimes makes it to the intended driveway. Most of the time, though, the breeze catches it and they wind up getting scattered in the street. A mound of trash that somebody has to pick up. Forget that the somebody is me on my particular block. The residents of my community actually pay for private trash service (no gubbermint “provided” service). The net effect is that the Houston Chronicle gets to litter my neighborhood and not have to pay for any of the consequences or costs of clean up. I do. I have to pay to clean up crap that I don’t want and don’t like. How much of a problem is this, you ask? Let’s do a little math.

Each one of those little packets weighs about 5 ounces. There are about 950 residences in my community. So each week, the Chronicle dumps about 300 pounds of garbage on the streets of my neighborhood. Let’s say that the Chronicle takes two weeks off for vacation or whatever. That’s 15,000+ pounds of crap each year. Or about 7 and a half tons. Now, using a redemption rate of 2.5% (gleaned from the National Coupon Institute), the Chronicle is dumping that 7.5 tons of crap in my neighborhood to reach about 24 households. Where can I send a clean up bill?

And another thing… The roadways are not provided for advertisers. That strip of right of way is not for advertising health clubs, new homes, web site building, youth camp, boot camp, candidate election or yoga classes. Matter of fact, doing so is illegal where I live. I’ve spent more than a couple of days cleaning up *those* messes. Got a thank you from a local Sheriff’s deputy. Also got accused of being a thief by somebody who was sticking the signs in the dirt. I suggested that he might be right and offered to wait right there while he called the law. He left… and I shoved the signs in the back of my car. BTW, those signs make great target backers at the gun range.


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