The opinions expressed in this article are that of the author and are not representative of the views of The Hysteria Collective as a whole.
In this world there are so, so many things to get angry about, but the target of my ire this week is the pizza company Domino’s, for the most trivial of reasons.
They won’t stop putting leaflets through my door.
Bear with me – this is a light-hearted piece and I acknowledge the ills of the world are numerous and great, but allow me these paragraphs to vent about something so frivolous – and get flipped off at them with me.
I work from home for half of the week and those hours are much longer than when I’m in the office building, with my very set hours of work and colleagues to blether with and breaktime pastries to crumble all down me. Therefore, when working from home, The Post is a thrilling part of the day. Almost close enough to make contact with a human being, in real wrinkled life, as opposed to the Zoom pixelated one.
“It’s The Post!!” I delightfully tell my array of candles and books I certainly didn’t need to purchase, as I bound down the stairs to my front door.
With every step downwards, it’s another exciting possibility. Could it be a book for me to review? Could it be yet another contraption that will definitely help me do my eyeliner/nails/skincare/exercise (delete as appropriate) perfectly this time? Could it be…a surprise cheque from my very generous Grandma?
And there it is. Shinier than the devil’s well-used poking stick. More tempting than a cold, crisp pint after a long, wet hill walk. Yet another Domino’s leaflet. I’ve had at least one, if not more, every single week for the past two months, and sometimes as many as three in the space of two days.
Why does this matter? Aside from the serious anti-climax it brings every time The Post is delivered, it’s such a vast waste of ink and paper. I don’t know how much Domino’s think us in this two-bed flat are ordering, but it certainly doesn’t merit a menu with 7 vouchers attached this often. So, the majority go straight into the recycling. And that’s another waste – that energy to mulch it down and turn it into something else could have been saved. I doubt that I’m the only one who both discards their Domino’s leaflets straightaway and is guilty as hell about it.
But what else can we do?
I decided first of all to call my local branch of Domino’s. They said it was nothing to do with them, it was the Royal Mail. Okay, fair enough! I emailed a complaint. Apparently all I can do to stop the torrent of Two For Tuesday flyers is put up a sign that says ‘No Junk Mail’. But I don’t wanna do that! I love seeing what’s going on in my local area, finding new tradespeople and events, getting wee vouchers for Lidl and Co-op (at the respectful regularity of twice per year).
I also don’t want to stop any political ‘election communications’. Every party standing is entitled to one delivered for free by the Royal Mail, and, even if you have signed up to block all mail that is unaddressed to you, one per party will be delivered nonetheless. The ones beyond that single allowance are counted as junk mail, however. These leaflets fascinate me – they are a window into the various parties and people standing for election in my area – this is what they want to present to the world, what they want the locals who might never have heard of them to see. And half of them seem to not have hired a proofreader or graphic designer. Of course, they are no match for the hilariously overblown American political adverts, but they still give me a flavour of local issues, the parties’ priorities and the colourful characters with their single-minded focus on one oddly specific issue.
I’d all but given up until yesterday. My dog was at home with me as well, so he got to join in on the excitement of The Post as we barked together whilst bounding down the stairs. And whaddya know – a Domino’s leaflet! An idea struck – one that might just work! At least for me, if no-one else. I was beyond saving others at this point in my tiny trivial battle – this one where the other side doesn’t even know my name or that they are in a battle with me.
I had a wee blether with the postie, the monumental stack of to-be-delivered Domino’s menus in their hands cheekily sticking its tongue out at me as we spoke, and we both agreed the amount and frequency was absolutely overboard! However, they explained, the Royal Mail are a paying customer and so it was their job to deliver them unless there was a clear ‘No Junk Mail’ sign and I had signed up to the myriad organisations required to bring down junk mail levels for my address (which you have to renew every two years!), and even then a lot of these still get through. I certainly didn’t want them to get in trouble, but I explained that I still wanted other so-called ‘junk mail’, just please no more Domino’s.
That’s when they hit me with an absolute bombshell that proved I was not crazy, I was not overreacting. Domino’s had been sending a lot more leaflets than usual.
Due to the recent legislation regarding junk food – also known as HFSS (foods high in fat, sugar or salt) – stating that it was not to be advertised to children and could only be advertised after the 9pm watershed, including social media adverts, in-game adverts, text messages and more, sending these physical leaflets are an attempt to weasel into our subconscious and push us to order more, more, more.
This isn’t the first time Domino’s have tried to be aw sleekit aboot rules regarding advertising to children – in 2008 Domino’s ended its ten-year run of sponsorship of ‘The Simpsons’ because, according to Ofcom, ‘the company was “failing to observe the spirit as well as the letter of the rules”’. They were showing every part of the Domino’s process except the pizza – and claimed they were simply advertising their delivery service and not the pizza itself.
However, I have decided to place my annoyances to one side. Whilst neither is acceptable, me receiving far too many Domino’s leaflets and the climate guilt that comes with that, is a far lesser evil than pushing their food and branding in every single ad break and in between all those social media posts and videos. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a Domino’s here and there, but we know the insidious effect advertising has on us all, and anything to lessen that is a bonus in my eyes.
If you have noticed this increase in their leaflets, now you know why. Perhaps there are other establishments near you that have ramped it up – or more will once the legislation comes into full effect from 2023. I might even collect all of mine and see if I can fashion a statement art piece out of em. I’m just still frustrated that in this climate emergency we can’t even stop this kind of unnecessary crap from clogging up our bins.
You can sign up to stop getting junk mail here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/post/stop-getting-junk-mail/
You can read more about the new legislation and future plans for it here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/total-restriction-of-online-advertising-for-products-high-in-fat-sugar-and-salt-hfss/introducing-a-total-online-advertising-restriction-for-products-high-in-fat-sugar-and-salt-hfss
And a summary from The Guardian here: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2021/jun/23/uk-to-ban-junk-food-advertising-online-and-before-9pm-on-tv-from-2023
Image courtesy of Vishu