USPS: We’ll Survive By Filling Your Mailbox With More Crap

Apparently, the Postal Service has decided that the key to financial survival is to annoy its customers:

The financially struggling U.S. Postal Service has a new plan to boost revenue, but you might find your mailbox filling up as a result — with junk mail.

The agency is launching a marketing campaign to promote Every Door Direct Mail, an online tool that helps small businesses circulate direct mail, promoting their services to new or existing customers without their names or addresses.

“For less than 15 cents apiece, our customers can send fliers, menus, brochures and advertisements in highly targeted ways,” said Paul Vogel, president and chief marketing and sales officer for the Postal Service. “The Web tool is free and easy to use, enabling restaurants, doctors’ offices and other small businesses to map their coverage areas online, so they can really zero in on the streets and neighborhoods they want to reach.”

According to Vogel, the Every Door Direct Mail service generated $153 million in revenue for the agency since it was launched in April 2011 through the end of last year. Businesses interested in using this service can simply drop off their mailers at a local post office.

Yes because the way to endear your business to the public is to stuff more and more crap that ends up in the garbage within ten minutes into their mailboxes. That’ll work. And, yes, I’m aware of the fact that the businesses are customers of the Postal Service as well, but surely they have to realize that advertising like this, while cheap, doesn’t really pay off in the end. Or am I the odd one here? Do people actually pay attention to that unsolicited stuff that gets shoved in their mailbox?

Letterbox Jammed Full With Junk Mail image via Shutterstock

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. James Joyner says:

    I don’t mind traditional junk mile like fliers, catalogs, and such. They’re easy to sort and discard and it subsidizes the mail I actually want. What annoys the hell out of me are the ones disguised as some sort of official mail that I’m pretty sure are crap but turn out once in 100 times to be something I really shouldn’t have thrown away.

  2. Herb says:

    Your post office animus is showing.

  3. Neil Hudelson says:

    I’m excited to explore this tool. If one can zero down to, essentially, a neighborhood or precinct level…well…thousands of underfunded candidate campaigns just started cheering. Goodbye mail house fees.

  4. Graham says:

    Damn you, Ben Franklin! Your short-sighted arrogance has doomed us all!

  5. I’ve noticed total mail falling off a lot this year.

  6. Interesting first ammendment case: as mail increasingly becomes primarily a method of distributing unsolicited advertisments, can the government continue to require you to provide, at you own expense, a receptacle to receive it and to empty said receptacle?

  7. rjs says:

    there is still 21% of the population dependent on USPS for communication…

    what if someone other than the post office had a new marketing scheme? you still as pissed?

  8. PD Shaw says:

    @James Joyner: I’ve always wondered why some enterprising consumer protection group hasn’t filed class actions on that kind of misleading mail.

  9. Trumwill says:

    @PD Shaw: Especially the ones that say “Insurance documents inside.” Yes, they’re selling insurance, but still, that’s not what one thinks when they see the words “Insurance documents inside.”

    On the general thing, I don’t have a problem with it if it helps them make money.

  10. Ed Huber says:

    Why the **** would I want more junk mail. This is rediculous. Too much is already spent and wasted on junk mail. I am personally going to try to stop this kind of bullshit.

    (Comment edited in accordance with comment policies – DM)

  11. Ron Beasley says:

    If that’s what it takes to save it fine. Of course a better solution would be to kill the poison pill that requires them to prepay medical retirement benefits for people that haven’t even been born yet. Without that they would be making money.

  12. Ron Beasley says:

    I get and pay most of my bills via the intertubes. That said I want the USPS to survive. The last couple of days the only mail I have received has been DVDs from Netflix (I’m hearing impaired so I can’t stream movies). Today I also received a book from a publisher for review. But I live in a retirement community and many of my neighbors depend on the postal service and that dependency is increasing as broadband become increasingly expensive. UPS depends on the USPS to deliver packages in rural areas. I still send a few letters and cards, it’s more personal.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    Businesses don’t just send this stuff out for the heck of it. It’s very easy to check the effect of direct mailers for local business. For example, if you have multiple locations for a pizza franchise, you can send a targeted mailer to one delivery area and not to another and see how it affects business. So, Doug, maybe you should contemplate the fact that someone whose livelihood depends on it may know more then some armchair pundit with no involvement whatsoever in that marketplace.

  14. Jenos Idanian says:

    @rjs: what if someone other than the post office had a new marketing scheme? you still as pissed?

    If it’s “someone other than the post office,” then I’m not likely paying for it. If it is the Post Office, I probably am.

    See the difference?

  15. john personna says:

    Pfft. We are always ready to waste time on US Mail, aren’t we?

    We agreed (most of us) that universal delivery was necessary for the vote and taxes, but that Saturday delivery was no longer required. Do that and txt me when it’s an issue again.

  16. The thing is, if junk mail helps underwrite the USPS, then I can live with having to throw a few things away everyday.

    Really, while it can be a bit annoying (as per James’ complaint above), it is really that big a deal?

  17. Dave Anderson says:

    Interesting concept of “customer” Doug — typical usage of customer means the people who pay for a good or service from a provider/seller.

    My mailbox is part of the product that the USPS sells to direct mailers — they sell guaranteed access to direct mail customers for an advertising document that still has positive ROI. The USPS then uses that profitable revenue stream to cross subsidize universal delivery of mail.