Saturday, March 3, 2007

Grumpy old man complains about late newspaper

I am worried about the fate of the great institution of the daily newspaper. That worry becomes panic, outrage, and complete flemesifation when my delivery is late. (Sorry, I couldn't think of a word that described my feelings so I had to make one up.) Not only is the paper business up against this new-fangled internet thing, but it's also up against the tendency to consume information at a higher level than the local. As the world gets smaller, we live regionally. Lots of people today don't care what's happening in the neighborhood until something bad happens, like a sex offender moves in next door, or even worse, a subdivision gets approved.

So the daily newspaper isn't essential as it once was. I don't really need it at all. That is, until I don't have it. If I am up at 6, I can wait almost patiently until 7, but if that thing's not in the driveway at that point, God have mercy, my vengeance will not be assuaged. This, of course, is a learned behavior. My dear dad, who could work up a 200-horsepower purple rage over most anything, would be royally pissed if that Joplin Globe was not where it was supposed to be, when it was supposed to be.

Imagine my disdain then, this morning, when my San Francisco Chronicle was nowhere to be found at the day-is-half-over time of 8:15am. Granted, I had already read the news on several websites - that's not the point. This is the same Chronicle that was offered to me at the bargain price of $80 for 6 months, I believe, but when that offer was rejected, it was agreed a price of $20 for 6 months would be adequate. (I paid that, but now feel I could have kept bargaining and eventually they would be paying me to receive it.) This indicates that they themselves perceive a diminished value for their product, don't you think? And if people aren't buying it, and your readership is falling by double digits each year, and you want to keep selling advertising, then maybe you should make sure that you achieve timely delivery to the few remaining customers you have?

And if in fact that paper is not late, but has been thrown under the car in the driveway, as it was this morning, shouldn't the Chronicle have already developed some kind of tracking system, perhaps using microchips and GPS, to make sure I can locate it? Just a little technology could have spared everyone from all this drama this morning.


Anonymous said...

If newspapers were personally deliverd by limo, they'd get more respect.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait until I am at the point in my life when timely newspaper delivery is my most important issue.
Your Anonymous Son

Barry Martin said...

Anonymous Son, I also look forward to your life being more boring, if not as boring as mine...
Anonymous Dad