The Recyclist: You leave that ‘door spam’ at your own risk, pardner


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There are many things I love about living in Long Beach.

The Aquarium of the Pacific. The Queen Mary. The fried chicken at Johnny Rebs’. But this -- my fancy new plastic placard -- ranks right up there.

It turns out that the city of Long Beach hates ‘door spam’ as much as I do. You know, all the junk that people leave on your doorstep: the business cards, gardening fliers, real estate agents’ calendars, restaurant menus and the like that are shoved into the door jamb, wrapped around the doorknob, shoved under the door or secured to my mailbox with a rubber band.


That stuff makes me furious.

It makes me long for the Wild West days when you could shoot someone for stepping foot on your property without your permission, and the long arm of the law would consider you justified. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating, but I hate arriving at my front door with my hands full -- supermarket shopping bags, my purse, a half-full coffee mug left over from the morning’s commute -- only to find that I have to thwack my way through all that rubbish to get to the lock and then watch cards and leaflets flutter to the ground when the door opens. Then, after I put my stuff down on the table inside, I have to circle back to the front door to clean it all up. It’s so bad in my neighborhood that my husband bought a small garbage pail and posted it near the front door for this purpose. (You know I don’t want that clutter in my house!)

But no more. I was tooling around the city’s website recently when I found this link alerting me to a free placard to hang on my doorknob. It carries a warning in English and Spanish that my home is off limits to this clutter, which just ends back in the city’s garbage trucks. I was thrilled to find it but also a bit dubious. Would it work? Keep reading to find out ...

Bottom line: Overnight, the door clutter came to a virtual halt. Seriously.

Turns out that these signs are not just window dressing. The city has a little bite to back up its bark: Advertisers who ignore the sign can be reported to the city, and the city also encourages you to print a form letter and send it to advertisers alerting them that a line was crossed.

I’ve seen a few violations, including one from a real estate agent. I called the agent to complain that my sign was ignored. I fully expected a ‘Hey lady, what do you want me to do about it?’ response. Instead, he apologized and asked me not to file a complaint with the city: ‘Please give me your address and I will come over there right now and remove it.’

So this thing works.

But what do you think? Am I being too touchy about all this door spam, or do you hate it as well? And do you have a better method for fending it off?


-- Rene Lynch

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