Editorial: For What It's Worth

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· It's fine that the U.S. Postal Service let the band Postal Service keep its name, but I really doubt that young people are going to run out and send any more mail because of this. The postal service (the quasi-federal agency) is even selling a CD by the Postal Service (the indie-rock band) at USPS.com, along with the usual stamps, replicas of mailboxes around the world and such. The band also is scheduled to perform at the USPS' National Executive Conference this week. Will postmaster general John Potter play the drums or just sing backup vocals?

· After newspapers championed the national do-not-call list as the government's greatest achievement, their circulation departments nationwide are watching their numbers drop, and they're blaming a lack of telemarketing. Since they always had exemptions with state DNC lists, newspapers never had to develop other marketing methods, including direct mail, better targeting and recurring-payment plans. All that's changing now as they embrace their DM brethren. So does this mean their reporters will stop calling it junk mail?

· According to the news agency AFP, a man in Germany was charged with his wife's murder because of a telemarketing call. The man apparently had stabbed his wife in her home when the phone rang. It was from a telemarketer. "The telemarketer heard her screams for help and then the phone went dead," a Wiesbaden police spokesman told AFP. The call center worker alerted the authorities, but the woman was dead when police arrived. Her estranged husband, however, was arrested in a nearby forest after he fled the scene, AFP reported.

· Members of environmental group Forest Ethics protested in front of a Victoria's Secret store in New York last week. This is the group that called the company "Victoria's Dirty Secret" last month, saying its catalogs are printed on "predominantly virgin paper" from endangered forests. More importantly, this is the group that mailed a 30-question environmental survey to catalogers recently. And it wants your help? Yes, fill out this survey and we'll come and protest in front of your place of business. A few days after the survey was announced, the Direct Marketing Association urged its members to ignore it. Good idea. With tactics like this, I would say that anything from this organization is questionable.


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