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The Royal Mail sticker trial

22nd November 2011

I got this leaflet about a 'delivery to neighbour' trial from my postman this morning. If you live in Bolton, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Hull, Norwich, Swansea or Wigan you may have received the same leaflet.

Royal Mail's leaflet about it's 'delivery to neighbour' trial.

It's a rather innocent trial; for the next three months any items that don't fit through my letterbox will be delivered to a neighbour if I'm not at home when the postman rings (so that I don't have to get it redelivered or, worse, get on me bike to collect it from the sorting office at the other side of town). So, why even mention it?

The interesting thing about the trial is that Royal Mail has produced a sticker for households that don't want to take part in the trial. The company understands not everybody gets on with their neighbours, and so you'll be given the option to opt out of taking part. To do so, you need to contact Royal Mail who will then send you a sticker for your door.

A sticker? What a great idea… Maybe Royal Mail could invent a sticker for people not interested in leaflets delivered by the postman as well. It could perhaps read 'No Junk Mail'.

Of course, Royal Mail has a policy of ignoring any type of 'No Junk Mail' sign. People not interested in unaddressed mail delivered by the postman are supposed to register with Royal Mail's Door-to-Door Opt-Out (which only 0.8% of households in the UK has done). It does make you wonder… why does Royal Mail insist postmen push unaddressed crap through letterboxes displaying a 'No Junk Mail' sign while at the same time asking them to watch out for opt-out stickers for its new trial?

Royal Mail's concern about people displaying 'No Junk Mail' signs is that they may not be making an informed decision about not receiving unaddressed mail. People in Norwich, for instance, would today have missed out on a leaflet from Virgin Media about the Blackberry Curve and a charity bag from the Salvation Army. Royal Mail sees it as its duty to prevent people are deprived of such important communications.

So, here's an idea. Why doesn't Royal Mail offer opt-out stickers for unaddressed junk mail via its website and require people to tick a box to say that they fully understand the consequences of opting out of receiving unaddressed mail items distributed by Royal Mail? I guess such a sticker scheme would have its own set of problems (I don't like the idea of Royal Mail having a monopoly on anti-junk mail stickers, for instance) but it sure would be more effective than the Door-to-Door Opt-Out.

Last updated: 
22nd November 2011