November 22, 2008

Mailman lauded for withholding junk mail

Residents along mailman Steve Padgett's route in Apex, N.C., say he's their hero for refusing to deliver at least seven years' worth of junk mail.

Padgett, 58, was given probation this week in federal court for failing to deliver pizza fliers, menu advertisements and store discount notices.

Padgett, who has diabetes and heart problems, said he started burying the junk mail in his yard and hiding it in his garage because he was overwhelmed by the amount of direct advertising mail he was supposed to deliver, said his attorney, noting not one customer on Padgett's route ever complained of missing the junk mail.

Padgett's secret was discovered when a utility worker noticed bins of mail stacking up in his yard and reported him, the Los Angeles Times said Saturday. Padgett then was fired from his job and charged with delaying and destroying U.S. mail.

When Padgett's customers learned of his plight they rallied, thanking him and calling him a hero for not delivering unwanted mail.

Padgett's efforts, however, were not appreciated by the Direct Marketing Association, which represents 3,400 advertisers, many of them small business, the Times reported.

Many people use the coupons and discounts that come with such mail, said Sandy Cutts, a spokeswoman for the association. And don't call it junk mail, Cutts said. We don't use the 'J' word.