Please Put Litter In Its Place!

Every so often–perhaps once every few months–I emerge from the Metro on my way home from work, climb the six flights of stairs to the level of the parking garage on which my car is parked, and find every windshield (mine included) papered with a some sort of flier. Like today.

I have never once found any of the offerings of these fliers even remotely useful.

It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even look at them anymore. I simply crumple them up and toss them in the back seat, to be disposed of later. Truthfully, I am often tempted to toss the paper on the floor of the parking garage. After all, it’s the garage people that grew lazy in their security patroles and allowed people to make such a mess in the first place. But two wrongs don’t make a right, and so into the back seat they go.

It never ceases to amaze me the ridiculous lengths people will go through to sell a product. Is this type of advertising so effective that it requires repeating every few months? Or is it just cheap? There are just over 1,000 parking spaces in the lot. That means that someone has to be paid to pepper the parking lot with fliers. Assuming 5 seconds per car, that’s 5,000 seconds or nearly an hour and a half spent littering. Assuming also, minimum wage, that means someone was paid around $10 to perform this task. Like I said, cheap.

I wonder how much these fliers actually improve the businesses who splash them about. Do people actually buy things, or order services, attend seminars, etc. based on what they see in these things? I can’t speak for what goes on in anyone else head when they see a flier on their windshield, but I can tell you what goes on in my head:

Having just climbed six flights of stairs, I somewhat out of breath but really, the sooner I can get into my car and get home, the sooner I can relax. It’s been a long day. Productive, but long. I need a break. Fumble for the keys, unlock the door, toss in the backpack, sit, shut door, seatbelt. Ignition! Finally I look up and see this thing stuck to my windshield. I roll down the window, but it’s conveniently out of reach. $#!+! Why can’t I just go home? Unbuckle the seat belt, unlock the door, open and out, grab the thing off the windshield, nearly ripping a wiper blade off, crumple, toss, back in the car, let’s go. But it’s too late. Now I’m in a foul mood.

As a matter of principle, I don’t think I could ever buy anything or use a service that was advertised on a cheap piece of paper stuck to my car windshield. To me, it’s blatent littering, no better than tossing an empty Coke can onto the street and it annoys me to no end. Isn’t there something like a $1,000 fine for littering in the State of Maryland? How is this not considered littering?

I’ve got to admin that curiosity got the best of me today. Before crushing the page into oblivion, I glanced at it. It was advertising a Church of some kind. And I wasn’t as upset as I normally get when I find trash on my car. I found a kind of perverse beauty in the irony of it all.