That’s Enough, ProJo

rumford fireplace paper setupLook: I like the ProJo. I agree with many (not all) of the editorials and like most (not all) of the writers. I’d love to see more ProJo writers cover local stories, as they’re good at what they do. It’s a decent publication. But it’s driving me nuts.

We recently received a “guess what!” postcard from the ProJo, informing us that we’d be receiving the “ProJo Express.” There was no phone number/email address to opt out of this.

Now, every Thursday, unseen carriers toss a copy of this 8-page redux into local driveways and walkways. Except for a couple “the beat” items for the upcoming weekend, the Express consists of recycles of random entertainment/real estate/sports stories from earlier in the week. For fun, the Express contains random surprises folded inside. Last Thursday it was a leftover copy of a Sunday Parade magazine. Today it was flyers for CVS and Cardi’s.

The Express could be a nice way to give non-subscribers a taste, showcasing a little local flavor without outside syndication. But let’s be straight: not everyone needs or wants this. I feel for the ProJo, which is likely trying innovative new ideas to increase circulation. But it appears the spouse and I are among the minority who will pick up and recycle the plastic bag and its contents. Take a look at how our immediate neighbors are enjoying their ProJo Express:


Well, as you can see by the oil spills, these aren’t the cleanest folks on the street. Let’s check my next-door neighbor, who is by far the tidiest of us all:


Yep, that’s right, Mr. Clean* is just letting them pile up. On one hand, Mr. Clean secretly might be lazy. On the other, why should he suddenly deal with items left on his walkway, particularly if they’re wet/dirty by the time he discovers them? Other unsolicited junk comes the old-fashioned way: delivered to the door by the postal service, clean and dry.

Bottom line, my little slice of suburbia is suddenly shabbier because of the Express. I’m calling the circulation department to ask about a way to opt out, but other neighbors may not have the inclination to do this, and the Express contains no contact info at all. And really, aren’t there enough unwanted plastic bags and pieces of paper floating around our planet without adding to them? Could the ProJo find it in its heart to include opt-out info or at -least- direct carriers to skip the homes that show no interest in taking in their copies of the Express?

Otherwise, when I choose a piece of Rhode Island to help clean up this Earth Day, it looks like I won’t have far to travel.

*not his real name

12 thoughts on “That’s Enough, ProJo”

  1. Annie Messier

    Dave–feel free to use the photos. Mary–calling them DID stop delivery for me, at least for a few months, until they changed from delivery to U.S. mail. I learned you need to specify when you call that you’d like to stop the MAILED copies, not just delivered ones. Wayne Pennell, VP of operations, was responsive when I complained (his email was something like VinylRake, my first job was as a paper carrier, I have sympathy. My argument was that the ProJo should have a policy to direct carriers not to deliver papers to yards that clearly haven’t collected previous ones–I wasn’t advocating taking frustrations out on any carriers themselves.

    I did notice the ProJo started printing their 277-7600 phone number on the plastic sleeves the papers come in. Unfortunately, many people still don’t know that calling the ProJo (and apparently not even that) stops delivery, although I’ve been informing neighbors. Mr. Clean finally called, and his yard is once again putting ours to shame!

  2. horace, if you really want an express you can try calling the journal (use the subscriber services # in the note by Annie Messer) – IF you are in a community they deliver the express to they will mail it to you if you ask (they offer this to customers who call to complain about the litter).

    to everyone else – if you don’t want the Express call your town police department, call the state attorney general there must be some recourse.

    also, a plea for understanding towards the people delivering the expresses – i can assure you that it bothers a lot of the carriers to have to throw unwanted trash in people’s yards too. it’s frustrating to see the papers just littering driveways or the street every week all week long but what can a carrier do? they are getting paid to deliver the expresses to specific houses and they can’t ‘opt out’ of delivering them – even though delivering the expresses WASN’T part of the job when the carrier took the regular projo route. and if a carrier doesn’t deliver the expresses to all the houses on the list they are given, they can be fired and lose their regular paper route. these aren’t even journal employees – they are ‘independant contractors’ probably delivering papers as a 2nd job to make ends meet – they didn’t sign up for delivering projo expresses and it’s not their decision to throw the paper in your yard. as upset as you are about the expresses, it doesn’t do any good to take out your frustration on the carrier, they don’t set the policies and can’t change anything.

    the journal obviously isn’t going to cover the story of people’s anger at the expresses, so if you want to get attention and organize like-minded people, call your television stations, write to your (real) local community papers, contact the Providence Phoenix, any alternative news source you can think of. Heck contact local community organizations/organizers, or environmental groups – having plastic bags littering the streets can’t be good for the environment or animals.

    Make some noise, get heard!

  3. Mary E. Ricker

    I’ve been calling Projo for 3 months to get this “newspaper” stopped! It simply does not happen. My neighborhood full of senior citizens simply cannot clean up all of the mess. It looks horrible! This is so wrong and Projo should be charged to clean it up. I truly think the only way to get them to pay attention is to call the major advertisers and complain. Tell them that you will not shop with them until either the Projo Express stops coming to your home or the advertiser removes their advertisements from Projo. I, for one, will not enter any business advertising in this “newspaper” until they stop!

  4. Hi,
    I see this article is nearly a year old. I wish I’d found it then. I got here today because I did a Google search for an image to use on a Facebook page I’m creating to protest the indiscriminate blanketing of our neighborhoods with this trash. I hope you don’t mind me using your photo–if you do, let me know and I’ll change it.

    I’ve been seething over this Express thing for a year! I called ProJo and asked not to receive the Express, but delivery never stopped. Have you had any satisfaction? Something needs to be done. I hope you’ll visit the facebook page – would love to have you post about steps you’ve taken to stop delivery, etc. The name of the page is “Say “No” to ProJo Express.”

    Dave W.

  5. Horace Shepherd

    I would love to have the projo express delivered to my house.

    Horace Shepherd
    150 Armstrong Ave.
    Warwick R.I. 02889

  6. Annie Messier

    The ProJo confirmed that calling the subscriber services department at 277-7600 would stop delivery, and the woman who answered that number and took my info said it will take up to two weeks to process and then I’ll be Express-free.
    I’ll be looking forward to April 27th, but if there’s another Express on my walkway that Thursday the 29th, I’m contacting the FTC. Magazines, papers, and store circulars are exactly the stuff that I registered with sites like DMA, RedPlum, etc. to opt out of, so I’m not too thrilled with folks that bypass consumer protection laws and dump their junk mail on unwilling residents’ property.

  7. Total waste of paper AND plastic. Is there no way to make them stop?

    If they included something good, like the crossword puzzle, I would’nt mind getting it.

  8. This has been bothering me as well. I never look at it, except to pull it out from under my car at the end of my driveway.
    How about we redeliver them one at a time. I work nights in the city, so starting tonight I’m bringing it with me and I’m going to throw it from the car to their door on Fountain St., Just as they do.
    I never litter, and you know they’ll remove them quickly. Any other takers?

  9. This is so funny because this has been bothering me for weeks. I wanted to put a sign outside near my mailbox, “Dear Projo, please don’t deliver me papers, we don’t read them.”

    I do the same thing, and since it’s the day before garbage day, it goes from the driveway into the bin. Stupid. We need to figure something out, it’s just a huge waste just so they can make some “fake” revenue? It’s not like they can prove people actually see it, so they are screwing both the people who don’t want to deal with it, and gouging their advertisers.

  10. I totally agree. I have no interest in subscribing to ProJo. These express go directly from my doorstep to my recycle bin. The only thing delivering this to my door does is remind me WHY I don’t subscribe to ProJo. Just another tree dead for something I could get digitally.

  11. Annie Messier

    Charging the advertisers for extra households was what the spouse guessed prompted this (darn it! He’s ALWAYS right!).

    I’ll have to look into legislative intervention. There are set ways to opt out of everything from junk mail to phone calls, so there must be some protection from this, too.

    Meanwhile, a neighbor suggested we collect a truckful of unwanted Expresses (shouldn’t be hard) and dump them all at ProJo’s headquarters. Mean-spirited, but not far off from what they’re doing to us….

  12. It’s the same carriers who deliver the regular projo. A month or so back the Journal told all their carriers they suddenly had several hundred(or more) new pieces of paper to deliver 1 day a week.

    It appears that basically they are distributing them to everyone who doesn’t subscribe to the projo already. I know someone who delivers <400 papers M-F who now has the 400/day plus suddenly an additional 1400+ once a week. Talk about a PITA.

    My guess is there’s no wasy opt-out because they can charge advertisers for the number of households the ads are delivered to (the printed items in the ProJo Extra might be recycled/free but there’s NO way the Journal is giving hand-delivered advertising away for nothing)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Providence Daily Dose