When out on my morning walk, I pick up junk mail from outside houses to read with my muesli when I get home. Am I right in thinking if the brochures aren’t left within the property boundary, they’re fair game?
E.M., Kotara, NSW
A: Okay, I’ve done a bit of research and worked out that your suburb of Kotara is a 35-minute drive to Newcastle Airport, which has approximately three flights to Melbourne a day. So, if you left now, in just a few hours you could be at my place, where you’re welcome to take all the junk mail that gets dumped outside: a palette-load a day, equivalent to one mid-sized Jonathan Franzen novel. In fact, you could just live with me forever and be my junk-mail taker. Obviously, you can’t live inside the house; I don’t know you. But my front yard is nice. I’ll give you a tarp and an umbrella.
Actually, without even checking, I’m pretty sure everyone on my entire street would be cool with you taking their junk mail, too. And everyone in my electoral district. And everyone in the Asia-Pacific rim, including Rarotonga.
As long as you’re not raiding our mailboxes or rummaging through our bins, you’re free to take any junk mail that’s accessible from the footpath. All the auto-accessory catalogues that make us want to flick out our eyes with a value pack of occy straps in assorted sizes and colours. All the prepaid-funeral brochures with photos of seniors looking really excited about dying on a budget. All the takeaway menus, tradies’ fridge magnets, and business cards for real-estate agents who look like 12-year-olds in a suit.
And for your magnificently noble service, I’ll provide all the muesli you can eat while you’re doing your junk-mail reading. Discounted muesli from a supermarket catalogue. Was $7. Now $4.50. Save $2.50.
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