Keep your d’mned flyer!


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Apparently I have a kind of antipathy against flyers. Whenever I come across people distributing flyers I immediately try to find a way to avoid getting one. I’ve tried multiple tricks. continue walking at a quick pace in a straight line while focusing a a non existing point far ahead, fully ignoring the people that try to enforce their flyer on me. I’ve also accepted the flyer against my will on many occasions in the past, just to avoid having to say no. What disturbed me was the consequences of this type of publicity. Most people will accept the flyer, may look at it and will drop it on the street. What a waste!

I do understand that the tactics behind this kind of publicity is to aim at one hit in 100 or maybe even 1000. I do not understand that we keep on using this old fashioned way until today’s day while we know it is environmentally seen a waste of paper and ink.

Today, a few days before the local elections here in the Netherlands, some political parties decided to post their flyer teams at the entrance of the railway stations. So, this morning I used my first “No, thank you.” when crossing a flyer that was offered to me with the question “Are you going to vote?”. Of course my mind was already spinning at full speed picturing myself having a discussion with the person offering me the flyer and allowing me to excuse myself for not wanting their information as I already made up my mind. Scenario I had to change immediately after the unexpected question about if I was going to vote. Things like “None of your business” flashed through my head.

But why am I so against flyers. The environmental point is true but also an excuse to hide the deeper motivations. If I look at how I handle information that is imposed on me in some way, I usually react by ignoring or repelling the information. I want to be in control and I am deciding when it is time to look for specific information. The fact I am reacting against this way of information distribution and trying to avoid it only confirms I am not able to handle it properly and may be afraid of being influenced by it.

Over the past few years I managed to change the way I react to information that is kind of enforced upon me. I will respond to the person by kindly not accepting the flyer. The same for vendors that come at my front door to sell services or goods I do not need. I will thank them for the offer but tell them I am not interested. I also will avoid going into discussion by just repeating that I am not interested. In most cases, even the best sellers will give up as there is nothing to win or lose.

I have to say that the temptation to go into a discussion is big. The problem is only that it will lead to nothing as the parties in the discussion have opposite points of view that will not change in the given moment. They will never accept that I am not a potential customer and I will never accept that I was wrong not being interested in what they are offering me. I chose to be clear and not waste their and my time. The chance that a reseller at my door is going to give me the best possible offer ever is close to nothing and there is very little chance the political party will convince me to vote for them just because they gave me their flyer.

To me, choosing who to vote for or what services or goods to buy is not a last minute, impulsive decision. It is something I want to dedicate at least a minimum of time where I do research on options and consequences of a possible choice. To me that is the most sustainable way to make my choices even if that means I will have to refuse flyers and offers.

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