Last Thursday, the newspaper did not arrive. The newspaper always arrives. At least, until lately.
A few years back, I gave up the San Diego Union Tribune because it was the least informative piece of journalism ever to enter my world. I’m not sure if it actually contained any national news at all. If it did, it was hidden for more than the ten years I subscribed to it.
One of the odd quirks of my job is that I actually receive all of my work from Los Angles and Sacramento. (I just live in San Diego.) The Sacramento Bee screams and yells about everything wrong with California politics. And since I already know all those gory details because I am a California taxpayer, I decided to go for the LA Times.
The LA Times is a mix of national news, LA news which includes the latest police corruption scandal and gang bust (both essential pieces of information in my job), and business and entertainment news. Now, remember, entertainment is a BUSINESS in L.A., so the business page of the L.A. times has all the gossip on the studios such as which movie did well, which went straight to DVD (and why) and which celebrity is unloading his or her mega million dollar mansion. Honestly, under the guise of straight journalism, the L.A. times can be better than Extra! Extra!
So on Thursday morning, mine did not arrive. I called the annoying L.A. Times phone tree which guarantees you cannot speak to a human. The computer voice agreed to bring my replacement paper withing forty-five minutes. But that wasn’t enough for me. For years and years, the paper arrived as regularly as a ticking clock. I used to see the little Vietnamese woman in her battered white Toyota truck throwing them out every morning when I walked my retrievers. Somehow, we had a sort of relationship without knowing each other. Then, THEY FIRED HER! I don’t know why. She didn’t say in the note she sent asking for one last tip.
As soon as she was out of sight, IT BEGAN TO HAPPEN. The worse than useless San Diego paper began showing up in place of my L.A.Times. I would call the humanoid computer. A replacement would appear. A few days later, the L.A. Times and I would dance this dance all over again.
Last Thursday, however, beat all former delivery mistakes. I received a New York Times, a Wall Street Journal, and a San Diego paper. The carrier seemed to think if he just kept tossing them out there, something would make me happy. Or maybe he was going for volume over filling my order correctly. The logic seemed to be, the more newsprint she gets, the less she will care about WHAT she receives.
After a certain amount of effort, I reached a human voice in customer service. I pointed out that, by going digital, I could save a lot of money every month and make sure to get the right paper every day. I know print papers are struggling to stay in business. Was it too much to ask, since I was a loyal print customer, to BRING ME THE RIGHT ONE?
That question remains to be answered. I haven’t cancelled the print subscription yet. The lady who eventually brought me the paper was very apologetic, and I’m always won over by people who don’t tell me their mistake is MY FAULT. She told me the carrier is a college kid who gets paid nearly nothing to do the job.
I have two sons in college. They need the income from the side jobs they can find. And, above all, I am not perfect. I can’t ask anyone else to be. I do miss my little Vietnamese carrier who always got it right. I don’t know why they sacked her. But I am big on multiple chances. For everyone. It’s a matter of your point of view