I Hate Walgreens' Flyers

05/25/2011 01:00 pm ET
  • Charles Warner Blogger at Media; Teacher at The New School, NYU

I hate Walgreens, and you should, too. Why? Because the pharmacy firm is irresponsibly polluting the environment and killing trees by dumping piles of flyers wrapped in plastic bags on doorsteps in my neighborhood in New York City.

My wife and I live in a brownstone in the East 90s, so we are prime targets for flyer, brochure, and menu dumping because the upscale neighborhood has a concentration of high-income consumers in single-family houses that grocery chains, pharmacies, and restaurants crave.

Here's how the flyer dumping works: A retail store (pharmacy, grocery chain, pizza- or sushi-delivery restaurant) wants to increase sales or introduce a new opening, so they print cheap flyers/brochures and hire young people who will work for below minimum wage to distribute them. I assume that the distributors get paid based on how many flyers they distribute, and don't get paid by the hour, because if they got paid hourly wages, they would work slowly and distribute only one flyer per house.

Thus, this distribution incentive system encourages distributors to get rid of their consigned bundle of flyers as quickly and easily as possible, which, in turn, results in them dumping multiple copies at each house.

In the past two weeks we have had a bunch of four copies of the Walgreen 12-page flyer, each flyer wrapped in a thin plastic bag, dumped on our stoop. I don't want one ugly, tree-killing flyer polluting our stoop or our house or our block, let alone four of the monstrosities. On a windy day, soon after the offensive Walgreens flyers are dumped, the block is strewn with fluttering plastic bags and loose pages of the hideous Walgreen flyer. It's disgusting and blatantly un-green.

Therefore, I picked up the four offensive Walgreen flyers in their plastic bags that were dumped on my stoop and four others scattered on the street and took them down to the nearest Walgreens on the south side of 86th Street, just east of Lexington Avenue. I went into the store and angrily tossed the wasteful flyers in the area in front of the check-out counter, to the shock of the nearest check-out clerk.

If you're as fed up with this hand-delivered flyer/brochure dumping as I am, then I urge you to fight back, too. If you live in a house anywhere in America where unwanted flyers, newspapers, or shoppers are dumped, I urge you to do what I did - gather up as many of these unwanted, tree-killing, polluting, wasteful flyers/brochures/newspapers and dump them back on the premises of the offending, polluting companies that distribute them.

Dump tons of them in the lobbies of newspaper or shopper offices or in front of the check-out counters of offending retailers. Fight back - fight dumping with dumping. You have nothing to lose but the mess, and you will help preserve the environment, to say nothing of the aesthetics of your neighborhood.